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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Wouter Deruytter: "Cowboy Code"

My calendar this year is a collection of photos by Wouter Deruytter. I never heard of him before. But I was looking for a calendar and his beautiful photo of cowboy caught my attention. The images are breathtaking. I knew then I have to have it. I found out that the photos were from his book “Cowboy Code”. I wish I have some extra money right now to actually buy at least one real prints. "Wouter Deruytter (b. 1967) made his name with his portraits of communities that are difficult for outsiders to engage. Previously he photographed cowboys and drag queens in America and circus performers in Egypt. For living and working, Deruytter alternates between Brugge and New York.

“In His book “Cowboy Code” , Deruytter roamed around Montana with a camera, and subtlety compose pictures of real cowboy life. Beat-up spurs, well-worn boots, weathered skin, big animals, and battered fence posts are all full of timeless wear and tear. This and the fear in young cowboy faces and the resignation in old cowboy hearts make his photographs seem tough, honest, and durable. The rodeo cowboy is an omnipresent image in American culture, a modern day folk hero and the subject of plays, movies, television, novels, and all the other arts. But in these photographs from small, non-commercial rodeos Deruytter brings to light a more homemade image than what we have become accustomed to. Deruytter's cowboys are not one-dimensional anachronisms: they tell a great mythic tale, but they also suggest several historical parallels and force us to remember vanishing things we like to think of as permanent American values. They carefully document the small town rodeo, and ultimately they exude a sensuality and youthful elegance these cowboys may not be aware of. These are eloquent and sensual images that bring to light another side of the cowboy myth in America.” From Amazon.ca

You can find more of his work from his website.

Wouter Deruytter

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