SHERIDAN — A photography exhibit at the SAGE Community Art Center, which will coincide with the Sheridan WYO Rodeo, celebrates Western traditions.
The exhibit displays 35 photographs from John “Grief” Hoskin, who documents scenes and moments he’s encountered while traveling the western United States.
“It’s an America you don’t see a lot of,” Hoskin said. “I’ve always liked the West and that’s where I’ve been is raised in the West — I’m not much interested in the East Coast.”
Hoskin’s photography documents a way of life he grew up with and that he fears is fading away. He’s always tried to capture images that were far from cities and highways, but he’s finding he has to travel farther to discover his subjects.
“I spent time with the horses and the cowboys — this is what I grew up with,” Hoskin said. “I was semi-ranch raised and around this lifestyle, and I just believe it’s a disappearing lifestyle.”
Yet, Wyoming abounds with the kinds of people and images Hoskin is drawn to, he said.
“The people in Wyoming have been friendly and opened up and given me the opportunity to take photography of their day-to-day life and scenes of the West that are disappearing,” Hoskin said.
“This has just been a very receptive state to my photography,” he added.
Outgoing SAGE Executive Director Kate Harrington said Hoskin’s photos are a natural fit for Sheridan in the summer, when aspects of that Western lifestyle are on full and lively display.
“We try to do something with a western theme during June and July,” Harrington said. “The rodeo brings a whole bunch of people to our town and they love to see western exhibits, we’ve found.”
Harrington said she immediately picked Hoskin as an artist she wanted to bring to SAGE when he submitted a picture to SAGE’s juried art show earlier this year. Aside from their subject matter, Harrington said she was fascinated by the style of Hoskin’s picture.
After taking a picture, Hoskin will digitally enhance it, heightening and blending colors, giving many of his pictures the look of paintings.
“I find his photographs completely unique,” Harrington said. “I haven’t seen another photographer use this process.”
Rodeos have always interested Hoskin and he said he plans to shoot outside of this year’s Sheridan WYO rodeo. But his interests, characteristically, aren’t on the main event.
“Rodeo is my favorite sport,” Hoskin said. “But it’s not so much the rodeo (that’s interesting), it’s the stories about the people and the ranchers and what they do.”
One of the photographs on display in the show, “Locker Room,” shows cowboys standing behind the chutes at the Sheridan WYO rodeo, preparing, taking off equipment and looking on. Hoskin said he’s looking for those kinds of images, moments at the margins of the action.
The show will remain on display at SAGE Community Arts until July 19.