On a warm Northern California spring day, ranchers gather at a lone, hidden homestead to provide immunization, ear-tagging, castration, and branding to new calves harvested over the winter. This rare opportunity allowed my camera to focus on working cowhands and witness the teamwork and camaraderie essential for a successful day of branding on the ranch.
Cowhands - Branded
“Necessity is the mother of invention” and resourcefulness is the way of the rancher.
We all are “branded” in one way or another.
Cowhands - Bare
More youthful and daring are the actions of the less experienced. Age has yet to weather these strong, “bare” roper’s hands waiting patiently for the next opportunity to strike into action.
Cowhands - Smoke
Any witness to a branding can still smell the “smoke” and hear the deafening pleas of the mothers and babies. In a few moments, this branding will be completed with a spray of medicine over the area.
Cowhand - Bloody
The shirt matched the job. Young bull castration occurs in conjunction with the branding, tagging, and immunization process. It is a dirty, "bloody" job that requires steady dexterity and a sharp blade.
Cowhands - Burn
There is no intention of harming or hurting the animals. All that is done is for good reason. A set of strong, steady and decisive hands are needed when applying the searing edge of a brand for the “burn”.
The Cowhands Series
A series of five pieces depicting hands at work during a day of cattle branding.
The times and technology have changed since when The West was won, but the basic job requirements for today’s cattle rancher have altered minimally. On a warm Northern California spring day, family, life-long friends, and ranchers gather at a lone, hidden homestead to provide immunization, ear-tagging, castration, and branding to new calves harvested over the winter. This rare opportunity provided to me in April 2016 allowed my camera to focus on working cowhands and witness the teamwork and camaraderie essential for a successful day of branding on the ranch.
“Many hands make light work” when cattle is your business and the cow business remains the epitome of The West today.
My art is my perspective, my observation, my focus captured at a given time. My art is the transferring of color and shape by hand to various substrates. My art is the presentation—the combination and mix of layered depth with “Wire and Wood” (the name of my personal project). My art is my intention to notice details and share the dignity of the time, place, and subjects. My art is cyclical: learn, grow, live, share, love (and repeat).
16” x 16” x 1.25”
Acrylic, Alder, Photo Transfer
©2016 Jake Weien
FUJIFILM X100v, Adobe Photoshop, DASS ART Transfer Products