The Erotic Allure Of The American West

My day at the Mineral County Fair illuminated the well spring from which my psycho-sensual self has emerged and I could feel the it’s powerful mysterious force on what makes me create and work on my images of the erotic male form. I stepped back into a place in my history before all this began and suddenly felt I had been transported to my youth. As a young high school student in Superior, I had felt a bit baffled by a then growing attraction to persons of my own sex. I really didn’t understand it then, but I knew there was such a powerful draw that was both compelling yet repulsive. In my head it didn’t make sense and I remember an internal struggle that I couldn’t act upon, but also could not ignore. Yesterday wandering around the fair, I carried my camera with me throughout the day and shot everything that triggered a feeling, thought, or emotion. I just literally responded to the environment that surrounded me. I touched a raw nerve of sensuality I have not felt in decades as I explored the people that surrounded me. Then to get back into the corrals and stalls with the cowboys behind the rodeo, I suddenly felt a missing piece of my life was revealed. There is a strong difference between desire and the actual act of sex. For some reason when I finally did have sex with another person, years beyond my days on the cattle ranch and growing up in Superior, something had changed within me. It was almost like the beauty and mystery of what I had searched for disappeared and he innocence of youth disappears. It seemed during that time it took forever to come to terms with the possibility of being gay, though gay was not the termed used, it was more of an innuendo or implication, unspoken, unrecognizable, certainly unapproachable. While at the ranch I had fooled around with other boys from neighboring farms, my curiosity piqued, more of a mutual masturbation, but unsure where or what I could possibly lead. I didn’t know love existed then, and the attraction was more of the excitement of revealing parts of ourselves in such a clandestine way that it was never acknowledged beyond the experience. Yesterday I was surrounded by the lads of my youth, all dressed from those days in my own youth, the farm boys in Wranglers and tattered t-shits, thin farm and ranch boys strutting about bonding with their friends, hanging out, on the cusp of exploring the maturity of their lives, a place where innocence ran abundant, fearless, filled with an exuberant honesty and simplicity. I began to recognize those impulses and feeling wheeling up from deep within myself and, a single moment in time, flooded my mind when I recognized a spark within myself.

We had lived about two houses from the fair grounds when I was in high school. One morning while the fair was in town, I was up before everyone else and wandered down to the fair grounds. I happened upon watching a young cowboy who had spent the night with his horse in an old powder blue Chevy pickup truck, not in very good shape. He had slept in the back of his truck on a bedroll and was just getting up. I watched him pull on his tattered Wranglers over his boxer briefs and pull his boots on without adjusting the pant legs. He hopped out of the truck shirtless and wandered over to the nearby horse watering trough, the morning mist rising off it’s surface, and doused his head and began to wash up his upper body splashing the cold water across his beautiful skin. I stood and watched, spellbound by the remarkable moment; he was completely unaware I was watching. It was in that moment I felt a passion born as I felt my own sexuality awaken. I wished so deeply with all my heart I could somehow preserve this moment for an eternity but know it could only be relived in my mind. I have never told this story, in fact, have not thought of it in years, but I know this was moment I would want to reclaim somehow in my life. I now recognize and actually see this moment in so many of my images and is the basis of everything I do. I now realize that I have spent a lifetime trying to capture this essence of this one elusive moment. Sometimes the things we discredit the most about ourselves become the core of our existence.

Today is dedicated to Kate, and she is probably going to kill me for making a big deal of this. But it was her contribution that helped putting me over the edge. One of the few people in Mineral County who has followed me from the beginning. It was good to see you back in the old hometown. Thanks for your constant support.

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