With the current black and white challenge, I wanted to highlight another image that means more than an exposure on film.
The reeds were nearly chest high for me. But for the bison, he was taller than the reeds and I and I’m 6′ tall!!!
It was estimated that before European’s came to America, around 50 Million bison roamed the continent.
The most near-devastating fact was around 1884, just over 300 were left….
There were so many orders to kill the bison to kill the Native American.
I really love this image because it shows both have survived.
Thanks to my good friend Bob who took this image, it is now forever ingrained in me of the feeling I had being far enough from a survivor.
The bison was certainly in his prime! He was a huge bull!
With the lighting and composition, I ran ahead and hoped he would walk right into my composition.
That he did! In the final print from the darkroom, you can see movement.
The movement was intentional unlike Bob’s image where everything is frozen.
The movement was created with a shutter speed of 1/2 second. In that time, he the bison moved and his movement was what I wanted to create.
A survivor. A hero. A dominant spirit. A bison.
I titled the image “Roaming Spirit” because that is what he is.
He roams over the grasslands as a live soul rather than something extinct and only found in our history books.
Which brings me to the following image:
(Estimated that thousands of bison skulls are in this image)
Many bison were killed for their hides and bones were put into fertilizer and interestingly, sugar. The obvious reason many were killed early on was to decrease the food supply of Native American’s.
For that reason, I have always wanted to photograph a survivor who was created to be such.
With my uncles and cousins recently returning from their once in a lifetime buffalo hunt, I too feel I had the same opportunity. To get value from such a magnificent animal. Hunting the traditional way is a very beautiful path. It involves more than simply thinking “how will this look on my wall”.
My father just returned from his deer hunting trip. He was able to hunt the largest deer he’s ever come across. The beautiful thing about dad’s approach is to never bring any antlers home because that is not what hunting is about. I love him for that.
Image Title: “Roaming Spirit”
Camera: Fuji GX 617
Lens: 105mm at f/32
Film: Ilford Delta 100
Print: Silver Gelatin
Edition of 5
(If you wish, you can click on the image below and a larger version will appear.)