You can almost smell the scent of well worn leather in the black and white image of a cowboy swinging onto a moving horse on the cover of Minneapolis photographer Michael Crouser’s new book, “Mountain Ranch.” This collection of photos made at ranches southwest of Steamboat Springs feels timeless. Crouser shows the constancy of ranch life and the hard work and persistence of the people who do it. He doesn’t shy away from the blood, mud and struggles, while he also shows the beauty of the environment, the harsh weather and the rancher’s connections with the land and animals.
Crouser is a film photographer, loading his old Pentax 67 cameras with medium format Kodak Tri-X and hand processing and developing each print. He writes in the book, ” I have always believed that how you say something is as important as what you say. And if you feel that photography is a form of personal expression and a reflection of yourself—which I do—then everything you do in the making of a photograph matters. For me, that means tactile photography. It means holding, loading, rewinding, and stashing film away in a pocket. Maybe even dropping the film accidentally in the dirt and going back to look for it. It means processing film in liquid, hanging it in air, and printing the image with light on paper.”
Crouser tells Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner about his work on this project, which stretched over a decade from 2006 to 2016. Listen to their conversation at cprnews.org