Life and Land

Photographing the link between life and land.
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Photographing the link between life and land.

Despite spanning nearly half the country, the American West—its land, people, and cultures—is a territory and way of life unknown to many. Through his photography, New Mexico native Jeremy Wade Shockley aims to make it a little more accessible.

“It’s a culture that’s changing and not as readily available as it used to be,” he says, “and I want people to see that it’s still alive and thriving.” 

Shockley started taking pictures while in the Peace Corps, where he learned that the more he was involved with a community, the better his photography became. It’s a practice he applied back home, immersing himself in the various cultures of the West.

In this series of photographs, Shockley trains his lens on the historic San Cristobal Ranch of Northern New Mexico, where multiple generations uphold cowboy traditions and manage the land. The inextricable relationship between life and land is a connection that inspires much of Shockley’s work.

“We need to regard the landscape with respect,” he says. “After all, it shaped the culture of the West. You can’t have one without the other. I want people to see that through my work, particularly if they’ve never been to the American West.”