DALLAS, TX.- PDNB Gallery
, in the Dallas Design District, presents the first exhibition of photographs by Fort Worth photographer, Jeremy Enlow, from his inaugural book, Cowboys of the Waggoner Ranch.
With a decision looming on the inevitable sale of the legendary 510,572-acre Waggoner Ranch in Northwest Texas, this young Texas photographer was given exclusive access to the Cow Camp operation behind the prestigious reversed triple D brand of the Waggoner Ranch, the largest ranch in the United States under one contiguous fence. The result is his new book, Cowboys of the Waggoner Ranch, and a collection of photographs from the book. The prints are pigment giclée on paper and on aluminum.
The book and fine art prints are a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the lives of the ranch's 26 Cow Camp workers who practice skills that have almost disappeared. Unlike their modern day counterparts of the Ranch's horse operation, the work of these cowboys has changed little since Daniel Waggoner claimed his preemption grant of 160 acres in 1854 and struck out with 242 head of longhorns and six horses for the rolling prairies of west Texas.
I've lived on and been a part of the Waggoner Ranch since I was six months old almost 69 years. I grew up with the cowboys, ate at the wagon and the big round table at headquarters. I've known the cowboys who stayed 50 years and the ones just passing through, said Helen Biggs Willingham, joint owner of the Waggoner Ranch.
They rise before dawn, ride tall in the saddle all day whether the day is sunny or a cold and biting wind swirls around them as they saddle their chosen mounts. They no longer battle Indians and outlaws of old, but they face the elements of nature every day; dust, drought, rattlesnakes, gopher holes, ornery cattle and the ever-present mesquite.
Willingham continued. Some people think of the cowboy as a half-mythological folk hero, just a symbol of the American West. The Waggoner Cowboys are real people. They are essential to the daily operation and success of this outfit. They are proud to ride for the 3D brand. Our cowboys have been a vital cog in the wheel of Waggoner success for many years. The pride they have in this organization is evidenced by the hard work they put in day after day, preserving a very special way of life. (MEDIA NOTE - No further comments or interviews are available from owners of the ranch.)
Most everyone I know with a 'real' job couldn't last five minutes cowboying on the Waggoner, said Enlow. They physically abuse their bodies with a finesse that's mastered with years of experience. There is no break until the job is done. Whether it rains, sleets or snows, the cowboys are always working. Those cowboys are one tough bunch.
Enlow shares further that his life-changing experience being immersed with the cowboys for days at a time was both eye-opening and mouth-closing. The cowboys work extremely well together with little words spoken. Maybe that's why they accepted me. Before I spoke, I thought long and hard about what to say."
Enlow partnered on the book with writer Jan Nichols Batts, a native Texan who started her professional career when she was 14 years old as a reporter for The Abilene Reporter-News.
Committed to supporting local business with maximum production quality, Enlow self-published the hardcover Cowboys of the Waggoner Ranch (140 pages - 12 tall x 10.5 wide), which was printed in Fort Worth by Four Color Press on 100# glossy stock.
Cowboys of the Waggoner Ranch retails for $58 and is available at PDNB Gallery's opening reception and at waggonercowboys.com. A portion of the proceeds from each book sale will be donated to The Waggoner Ranch Cowboys Fund.
Jeremy Enlow is an advertising, media, and fine arts photographer based in Fort Worth, Texas. He owns Jeremy Enlow Fine Art Photography and Steel Shutter Photography.
More than 36,000 of Jeremy's images have been published worldwide. His subjects include architecture, landscapes, portraits, food, and sports. His clients include magazines, universities, advertising agencies, corporations, and small businesses. Jeremy's commercial work can be viewed at www.steelshutter.com
Jeremy grew up in Granbury, Texas, and was first published in Hood County News when he was ten years old. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Texas, majoring in photojournalism.