Josh Myers was a college student when he decided to hike the Appalachian Trail—a 2,160-mile footpath between Georgia and Maine. He brought along a point-and-shoot camera to capture scenes from his adventure, which he then posted on his blog. Myers says, “People started going crazy over my pictures. They were relating to my story through photography.”
When he got home, Myers bought a nicer camera, read all the books he could on the subject, and taught himself how to become a photographer.
The siren song of the mountains called the Michigan native out West, where a friend introduced him to the world of working ranches. He wasted no time getting his hands and boots dirty, accompanying crews on cattle drives, at brandings, and during daily chores—all the while with a camera in his hand. Myers explains, “I like to get in the thick of it. I’ll be holding down a calf or giving medication or branding while taking pictures. When I’m part of the process, I’m more likely to capture a feeling than just an image.”
Today, Myers calls southeast Idaho home, a rugged territory where the ranchers and cowboys are made of tough stuff.
“It’s a hard way of life,” says Myers of the men and women who work and run cattle in the unforgiving northern mountains. “The days are long and there’s little pay, but you have to be all in. There’s no half-assing it. Making a go at a life out here represents the values I admire: hard work, integrity, and character.”
These Western values shine through Myers’s images, which transport viewers to the middle of a drive, the back of a horse, or the action of a branding pen.
“I want people to feel like they’re there, in the moment I’m pushing the button,” he says.
“I want them to be present in the moment of all that hard work so they too can feel the sense of pride and strength of these cowboys.”
See more of Josh Myers’s photography at ranchhandphotography.com.