A photographer’s contemporary deconstruction and reimagining of the American cowboy archetype Brian Kaiser. Based in Columbus, Ohio, Kaiser believes the cowboy’s unique character occupies a space between myth and reality. The figure has become an icon that conveys patriotic themes such as robust individualism, honor, strength and resilience. However, the idea of this iconic folk hero has survived but is seldom considered. Kaiser said:
“How the cowboy has been portrayed in popular culture, and who has been excluded from that portrayal, is directly linked to America’s own inaccurate narratives of race, gender, exceptionalism, expansion, and destiny. To correct the record and broaden the definition, a growing body of literature and images has expanded and challenged these imperfect depictions. It looks like
Kaiser focuses on a diverse range of rodeo groups, from black rodeos on farmlands south of Chicago and gay rodeos that honor victims of the AIDS epidemic, to Mexican Jalipeos outside Columbus, Ohio. , each event pays tribute to history. Elevate the value of sport while uplifting the values that are important to their culture and community. In this context, Kaiser shows not only how this archetype is enduring, but how malleable and inclusive it is. Check out more images of the ‘Midwest Cowboy’ below!