So goes the saying, one I couldn’t verify or find the root of, but old cowboys never die… they just ride off into the sunset. If you are familiar with westerns, this is a tried and true trope – one that we can look forward to at the conclusion of the movie. We don’t have to worry too much about the protagonist, even in the middle of a shootout. At the end, he’ll probably ride off into a beautiful sunset and another day. (Ok, maybe not so much for Shane…)
Recently, that line has followed me after I did some photos of my step-father. Over the years we’ve had a rocky relationship, one that calmed down for the most part after I got married, but recently we’ve become closer. The death of my mother was the catalyst, and now we work together to keep aspects of her dreams alive. The biggest of which was her farm in Brazil.
I’ve always looked at Tom as a cowboy, and more recently it seems to me that that’s what he’s truly always been. A quiet strength is the best way I can describe him. One that has always been a challenge to capture with a camera as he is relentlessly mischievous in front of the lens and is defiantly naughty by nature. Over the years, I’ve caught him posing with a Clint Eastwood steely stare or acting surprised or oftentimes behaving a bit goofy – anything but as the actual human underneath the facade. I can only remember getting an actual smile once, when I took a picture of him and my mother.
But perseverance is the way of the cowboy – and the photographer. Although still posed, these photos are the closest I’ve gotten to show who he is. Yes, even the horse.