Photographer Jaime Carrero has been documenting the life and craft of cowboys in East Texas. This is the second installment of his work at the Jacksonville Rodeo.
By Jaime Carrero
The United States is founded on a series of myths: the Mayflower, The Westward Expansion, Manifest Destiny, rugged individualism, Justice, God, The Alamo and the world’s melting pot. Nowhere are these myths more admired and adopted than in Texas which is itself a place of mythical importance in the U.S.
I was drawn to photograph cowboys because they personify many of the myths that are part of the American experience. Being a cowboy is being part of a community, living a way of life that is not only anachronistic but also enduring as part of the American self-perception. John Wayne, Tom Mix, the novels of Cormac McCarthy and Larry McMurtry are paeans to this myth.
Cowboys are for the most part quiet, very conservative, God-fearing, lovers of the great outdoors, believers in strong family ties, tradition and slow to trust non-cowboys. They live by a code and attempt to keep a legacy from generation to generation.
The images shown in this essay are the result of my third year photographing the Jacksonville Rodeo in East Texas. The sense of community in these events and the acceptance of all cowboys regardless of ethnicity or nationality as part of a larger family is palpable. And this is not a myth.
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