Randy is a Canadian cowboy. He does not ride horses or lasso cattle or do any other activities associated with that Old-West stereotype. Randy’s cowboy embodies a way of life, a code of conduct based on the ideals of hard work and self-reliance that pits him against the world.
Photographing Randy is usually the only time I get to be the boss. For once I become the knowledgeable one; someone who has “mastered” a craft (photography) and who makes a living from “art” (a useless and frivolous trade, in his eyes). It is a role reversal executed to almost magical effect: he likes being directed by me; and I find it extremely satisfying telling him what to do. When we are dealing with my world, I am allowed to run the show as a rare acquiescence to my proficiency.
I have been photographing my dad sporadically over the last 14 years, but the intention of creating some sort of project about him has, more recently, focused that practice. My idea of Randy and his idea of himself, although not completely synonymous, are compatible enough that he is willing to go along in with the eccentric scenarios that I create for him. I usually like to present Randy as an iconic mountain man, balancing between the realms of reality and fantasy.