Photographic Areas of Focus
Fashion, Fine Art, Landscapes, Portrait, Sports, Wildlife
United States of America
Steve Wrubel has devoted much of his life to traveling the world with his camera. The rocky coastline of the Pacific, the sandy beaches of West Africa, the Spanish steps in Rome, and his grandparents' home in the Mojave Desert. These are his happy places. Steve has always found himself drawn to the American West. In 2019 he began a journey of documenting one of its last living legends - the rodeo cowboy. The American Rodeo is steeped in rich heritage and storied traditions. Through his interactions with this unique culture, Steve has been influenced by the fabled cowboy lifestyle. The day he shot his first rodeo, he traded in his car for a black, backroad-friendly pickup truck he affectionately named Angus. Since then, Angus has taken him to almost every state west of The Mississippi. Some people look at 14-hour drives as something to avoid - they’d rather fly - but he revels in them. The open road affords him complete immersion in the vast backdrops of America's most iconic landscapes. Places like Shiprock, New Mexico, and The Pawnee National Grasslands. Terrain shaped by remnants of ancient volcanoes, prehistoric sea floors and the collision of tectonic plates. These pristine landscapes remain much as they were when the working cowboys of old roamed them, driving herds of cattle across open range. The modern rodeo cowboy now moves through this same land in pursuit of belt buckles and prize money. It’s during these long, meditative drives that Steve finds the backdrops that shape his work. He uses this time to reflect upon what draws him to these places, this sport, these people, and their culture. What draws him to the west as a whole. It is the hope of capturing a world and way of life that, for now, remains comparatively unspoiled by modernity. In seeking these moments Steve has found an artistic kinship with the cowboy. Their artistry lies in bringing the animals and the land to heel. They pass their practices down through generations, nurturing the skills necessary to tame a once wild beast long enough for an eight-second ride. They spend their lives traveling, practicing, and honing their respective crafts. It all culminates in those few moments after the chute opens - a cacophony of chaos. With a great deal of skill and a bit of luck, from the chaos is borne an image. A fleeting glimpse of the beauty that both Steve and the rodeo cowboy strive to acquaint us with. The unbridled spirit of the American West.