Western Skye

A closer look at the ranch photography of Skye Clark.

By William Reynolds

July 2, 2018

In reflecting on the subjects of her groundbreaking, mid-1930s work as a photographer with the federal Resettlement Administration and the Farm Security Administration, Dorothea Lange (1895–1965) stated, “I many times encountered courage, real courage. Undeniable courage. I’ve heard it said that that was the highest quality of the human animal. I encountered that many times, in unexpected places. And I have learned to recognize it when I see it.”

The courage Lange spoke of can be seen in many of her Depression-era images of people she encountered all over the West. It was a courage that seemed to swell despite the plight her subjects encountered during those challenging times; it was simply a quality that allowed them to function, to live and have hope—to continue in a responsible fashion. To just keep going.

Photo by Skye ClarkPhoto by Skye Clark

Since the early 1980s, modern photography of Westerners, specifically of those in the horse and cattle business, has helped bring awareness of just what it takes to keep going. The cowboy life is not all hats and boots; rather it is filled hard work and, in many cases, dangerous tasks filled with personal jeopardy. The work must get done. Emerging photographer and Wyoming native, Skye Clark is herself a picture of the diverse nature of today’s creative Westerner. She runs cows with her husband and is a fitness trainer and nutritionist. She also finds time to create imagery of the world in which she lives and is passionate about. It started several years ago when she purchased a camera simply to record her family and the ranch work they did. She realized she started seeing things in a different way and in turn started shooting images with a new perspective—celebrating and illustrating the ranch life around her.

Photo by Skye ClarkPhoto by Skye Clark

Her images are those that depict the work in the West that starts before light and continues sometimes long after dark every day. Of her approach to life, she states, “Appreciate everything you have, look for the good and the lessons from all experiences and just love and live life to the fullest!” Completely self-taught, Clark realizes her photography is a “work in progress” as is the rest of her life. She would like to travel a bit more and visit other ranching areas of the country, photographing the life she loves along the way. 

Photo by Skye ClarkPhoto by Skye Clark

lrOpeningshotAugust sunrisePhoto by Skye Clark

Photo by Skye ClarkPhoto by Skye Clark

To see more of Skye’s work, visit her Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/skyeclarkphotography/. Follow her on Instagram, where she has over 29,000 followers, @skyeclarkimages. 

Tags: wyoming cowboysBill ReynoldsSkye ClarkWestern Photography