The Early Photo Essays of Kurt Markus
The TV and recliner are replaceable.
Nobody messes with the wall art.
Cowboy photographs and paintings reside in a class of their own. They represent a form of freedom and adherence to a code of honor that's changed little over the years. Dear to the hearts of working cowhands are their Charlie Russell prints and Kurt Markus photos, both of which can be found in some form on virtually every cookhouse, bunkhouse, camp cabin and calving-shed wall. None are originals; the cost would be out of reach. Most are decent-quality prints hacked from calendars with a dull pocketknife or torn in haste from the pages of a magazine. Brittle and faded, their corners curl to reveal a brighter shade of paint behind the page. They remain in place for years in shrine-like fashion.
The identities of the cowboys in Russell's paintings have vanished from memory, returning to the very same earth that claimed the cattle and horses they worked a century ago. But the cowboys and buckaroos in Kurt Markus' early photos, captured like fireflies behind the dark curtain of his shutter, are still within reach.
Read the complete story in the October Issue of Western Horseman.