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£966 pledged of £10,000 goal
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About this project

Cowboy Up

Almost every photographer has a dream to one day publish their own book and have it feature images they've captured of an incredible subject. For me, I don't just want to create a book I want to use this as a chance to raise funds and awareness for children’s charities in the UK and USA. "Cowboy Up" is going to capture the spirit of the American Cowboy from ranch to rodeo in every way.

In my first experience working with the cowboys, I found a huge part of their spirit is all about giving back. I've met some of the biggest hearts riding the most amazing animals. it's such a logical connection to use the cowboy story to help generate additional funds and recognition for deserving causes.

Bareback rider
Bareback rider

Why Cowboy Up

The Oxford English Dictionary defines the phrase Cowboy Up as: "Make a determined effort to overcome an obstacle or deal with a difficult situation"

Whilst just two words this phrase defines the Cowboy code: Whatever life throws at you get the job done; don't whine and complain; don't blame others; take responsibility and always do the best you can.

As a photographer I have a passion for documentary work approaching both weddings and sport in that way. I have also developed a fascination with the Rodeo Cowboy way of life. For this project I am going to combine these two passions into one. There is nothing more exciting than being at a rodeo, watching and being around these incredibly talented yet down to earth athletes. 

The Rodeo Cowboys and Cowgirls epitomize the expression Cowboy Up and provide an incredibly rich opportunity for a photographer. 

My aim with the book is to document the lifestyle from ranch to rodeo covering the build up, behind the scenes and the action. The book will show a gritty, tough world full of incredible characters documenting the warmth, humour and determination of those living this lifestyle.

Giving back

Once the project is complete and the final book is available to purchase a fair percentage of any sales will be donated to worthy children’s charities in the UK and USA. (More specific information coming over the next few weeks.) Many children are dealt a tough hand and don’t get the opportunities that others take for granted. There are charities on both sides of the Atlantic that grant these disadvantaged children their wishes making their dreams come true. 

As a father I am blessed with three healthy happy children but I have always been conscious that others aren’t quite as lucky. A big part of my life revolves around giving back or paying it forward but on a small scale. This project is part of my dream to give back on a much bigger level.

The book

All of the photographs will be presented in a Black and White fine art style. Whilst the book will provide the images as a collection of photographs each and every one will be able to stand on it’s own.

The book itself will be available in three editions a limited edition version (50 copies only); a standard hardback edition and a soft cover edition. Also photographs from the book will be made available as limited edition prints. For people that back the project with a pledge of £80 or more they will get a credit in the book as thank you for making the project possible. All other backers will get a personal email from me expressing my thanks.

The foreword to the book will be written by my friend Skip Cohen who spent 18 years at Polaroid; formerly President of Hassleblad USA and has co-authored many photography books. Skip is currently President of Marketing Essentials and running Skip Cohen University. In the photography world Skip needs no introduction and has links into the Rodeo community when he set up a Rodeo team during his time at Polaroid. That team included Rodeo legends such as Tuff Hedeman and Rod Lyman.

Saddle Bronc Rider - Wade Sundell
Saddle Bronc Rider - Wade Sundell
Tie Down Roping - Trevor Brazile
Tie Down Roping - Trevor Brazile

The project


Having spent some time in the US, most recently in Dallas for The American Rodeo, my resolve to get this project done has increased. I was fortunate enough to get a press pass for the event and capture the photographs used to promote this project. During the time at the Rodeo I met many great Cowboys and Cowgirls some of those will be helping me once the project gets underway.

To capture the photographs for the book I plan to spend time in the US with real Cowboys on working ranches and at rodeos. These will be captured over a number of weeks, I will upload a few pictures as I go along on my blog and via updates on Kickstarter. Once I return to the UK I will select the photographs that will appear in the book and process them accordingly. The book will then be submitted for review and finally printing.

Bull Rider - J.B. Mauney
Bull Rider - J.B. Mauney

Thank you for looking at my project, if you like what you see and want to help me achieve this goal I'd appreciate you backing the project.

Bareback rider - Richmond Champion
Bareback rider - Richmond Champion

 All photographs presented here have been taken by me and are subject to copyright.

Risks and challenges

With any project of this nature there are a number of challenges. The first challenge is the logistical where, when, who and what. The next few months will be spent researching this aspect of the project using contacts already made in the right locations.

The second challenge is once there becoming quickly accepted by the community making sure they are comfortable being photographed. This aspect probably comes more naturally to me as I have photographed many different types of people in all sorts of situations. I am fortunate in the fact that I have the ability to put people at ease and quickly get to the point where the camera and technology are out of the way and accepted. Once that point has been reached it is simply a case of going about my work to capture people as naturally as possible.

The final aspect of the project will be editing and production of the book itself. This will be done once back home in the UK and from there rewards will be sent once complete.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £1 or more About $1.68

    My eternal gratitude for backing the project and a personal email from me expressing my thanks ($1.60 approx)

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    A selected digital image to use as the wallpaper for your PC, Mac or tablet from the project.

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    Pledge £10 or more About $17

    A set of three selected digital images to use as wallpaper for your PC, Mac or tablet from the project. ($16 approx.)

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    Pledge £20 or more About $34

    A selected limited edition postcard sized print featured in the book.

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    Pledge £20 or more About $34

    A ebook version of the final book to view on your iPad, tablet or computer. Plus my eternal gratitude for making the project possible.

    ($32 approx)

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    Pledge £50 or more About $84

    A set of five selected limited edition postcard sized prints featured in the book ($80 approx)

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    Pledge £80 or more About $135

    A standard soft cover copy of the photo book and a credit in the final print book ($130 approx)

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    Pledge £150 or more About $252

    A standard hardback copy of the photo book and a credit in the book ($240 approx)

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    Pledge £200 or more About $336

    A standard hardback copy of the photo book plus a signed 16 x 10 limited edition fine art print featured in the photo book ($320 approx)

    A credit in the final print book.

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    Pledge £400 or more About $673

    A signed, numbered copy of the limited edition version of the photo book. Only 50 copies will be made of the limited edition photo book.

    A credit in the final print book.

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Funding period

- (60 days)