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A M E R I C A N  S P I R I T
The Western Experience

I have always been fascinated by America and the western experience in particular.
I grew up in Geneva watching John Wayne’s movies on television.

The American cowboy is revered as a national hero. He has become a symbol of American virtues – optimism, good humor, friendliness, hard work and free will. He is admired worldwide for encountering nature directly and for living a wholesome way of life.

He is alive and well here in Texas and mixed with urban cowboys, omnipresent at the annual Houston rodeo. This event with its air of festival bash provided me with the opportunity to capture this spirit with my photographs. I identified somehow with this American spirit and felt it was the quintessence of the American dream. That dream is not necessarily connected to financial success, which the cowboy was the ultimate example, – his success was within himself, being able to make a modest living out of his passion. I continued to cover this theme for two years.

I wanted to bring out the celebration not of an imaginary superman or a fairytale hero but the cowboy, that living relic out of America’s pioneer’s past... because there is always a little bit of the cowboy, somewhere, in each and everyone of us.

  © Copyright 2006. John Bernhard. All Rights Reserved.