100 Years 100 RanchersMarch 14, 2012
Nov 21, 2011
Photographer: Mr. Scott Baxter
(PHOENIX, November 21, 2011) — Wide open landscapes dotted with grazing cattle and sheep herded by the rancher on horseback have become an iconic symbol of the American West. For more than 100 years the ranching tradition has been an integral part of Arizona’s history and growth. In celebration of Arizona’s Centennial in 2012, Scott Baxter photographed 100 Arizona ranchers whose families have been ranching for a century or more.
Baxter’s powerful exhibit of black and white photographs, now on display through May 13, 2012, at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, documents 100 ranchers whose families have been ranching in the state since 1912 or earlier. Baxter interviewed each and every rancher, gathering information about the family’s history and their ranch operations. Then, using only black and white film, he captured a sense of timelessness in photos that direct the viewer’s full attention to the subject in the frame. One hundred photographs are exhibited throughout Terminal 4 on Level 3, including eight art boxes at each end on Level 3 and on the wall adjacent to Starbucks.
“I wanted to recognize these families that have struggled to survive and persevere in these difficult times,” Baxter said. “As ranches are lost to development and to poor economic conditions, I hope to preserve photographically an integral part of Arizona tradition.”
For over ten years Baxter has been traveling to ranches across the state, getting to know the individual ranchers and their operations. Photography for this project began in 2000. He chose to use large and medium format cameras, a traditional process which takes time and allowed him to engage his subjects in a personal manner. The strength and independent nature of this unique group of Arizonans is apparent in their portraits. Baxter’s collection of photographs is a tribute to Arizona’s ranching legacy by preserving an important piece of Arizona character and history.
“I have always been drawn to people. Regardless of the setting, the human element in a photograph will always give one a sense of place and perspective,” said Baxter.
A public reception for the exhibit was held Saturday, November 19, at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
“Some ranches have been continually operating as far back as 1870,” Baxter said, “well before statehood. And the ranching culture is still vibrant in Arizona. Names like Udall, Dobson, McGee, and Marks are well known, but there are many others.”
This Arizona Centennial Legacy Project has been featured in Arizona Highways magazine each month since February 2011 as part of the magazine’s Centennial coverage. Baxter was also featured on the cover of the June/July Issue of American Cowboy. True West magazine will feature the project in the February 2012 issue, and “100 Years 100 Ranchers” will be featured in the March issue of Cowboys and Indians (focusing on photographing the West). An article by Peter Corbett appeared August 2011 in The Arizona Republic. And KAET-TV profiled Baxter on “Horizon” on September 1. Recently Baxter was notified that he was selected as one of Arizona’s Culture Keepers for 2012.
Negotiations for a limited edition fine-art photographic book are being conducted with Tiny Satellite Press at Cattle Track in Scottsdale.
Information about the exhibit as well as the channel 8 Horizon segment and further news items are available at www.100years100ranchers.com.