The work represents photography “unplugged” — captured on film and printed in a wet darkroom,” explained photographer Linda MacCannell, “The camera of choice is a slow and eccentric partner — extending its curious bellows and allowing time to weave a conversation into the experience. The resulting photograph is a memento of that unique afternoon and the warm conversations that resulted.” While the photographer was unable to present these sentiments in person, her words were read aloud by Southern Ute Museum exhibit curator Delana Joy Farley.
The exhibit, titled ‘Riders of the West: Portraits of Indian Rodeo’ opened at the Southern Ute Museum on Friday, Feb. 23, and presents a combination of MacCannell’s photography, and excerpts from the book written by Peter Iverson. Accompanying this collection of black and white photography are items from the rodeo circuit, vintage memorabilia of a life in the bucking chute. One of the contributors being, Ignacio’s own, Travis Nanaeto who spent over 25 years in the professional rodeo circuit — riding broncs and bulls.
Nanaeto got his start in rodeo in 1989, where he attended a bronc riding school in Pratt, Kan., later attending the Lane Frost Bull Riding school. He worked his way through college on rodeo scholarships and has made it to the Indian National Finals 11 times. “I knew the photographer, I met her in Gallup a few times,” Nanaeto said. Many of the riders pictured in the exhibits are old friends from Indian Rodeo he remarked.
Among the items donated to the Museum for this exhibit are riding chaps and saddles that Naneto used early in his career, bronc reigns and bull riding spurs. “It was special, they did a great job with the cases, and lighting.” Travis said in regards to seeing everything on display. “One of those is my first saddle, your first anything is sentimental I guess,” he reflected.
The museum was packed for Friday night’s opening, with the exhibit staff welcoming Chairman Sage, members of the Southern Ute Tribal Council and family who showed up in support of MacCannells work. “I was really humbled by the number of people that showed up, it was very supportive, Southern Ute Museum Director Linda Baker said. “I think this exhibit showcases the different types of exhibits that this museum is capable of— 2D, 3D — all the large format printing was done in-house.”
“We wanted to thank the Southern Ute Indian Tribe for allowing us to bring this to Ignacio,” Exhibit Preparator Jed Smith said. “Thanks to the family members that are here, and Travis Nanaeto who provided the majority of the items in the display cases.”
The ‘Riders of the West’ exhibit will be on display in the museum’s temporary gallery until February of 2019.