Like many Americans, Gene Peach assumed the cowboy was a worn-out relic of the past. But, when he started meeting working ranch families, he soon realized the West was still rich with an authentic cowboy way of life. Rather than a myth, Peach discovered that cowboys are very real and among the most fascinating agricultural people in the world.
To Peach, ranch and rodeo children best represent continuity of traditional cowboy values. Many are accomplished horsemen by the age of six or seven and already contributing members of the family work force. They are shaped through a daily partnership with animals and schooled in the time-honored values of discipline, hard work, patience and courage. They prove that Western ranching traditions remain strong and vibrant and that the American cowboy is here to stay
Gene has been photographing the cultures of the West for more than twenty years. His Southwestern, American Indian and Cowboy photos are published internationally, and his advertising and editorial photography appears regularly in U.S. magazines and books, His personal projects focus on rural cultures and he is currently working on a book about elderly Southern farmers titled Difficult and Defeated, Tennessee. “My hope,” he says, “is that my work will help bridge our urban/rural divide, if only for a moment.”