This is one of my more lighthearted images at www.douggraybealphotography.com and I really felt we needed a good laugh this week. Just a few miles outside of Amarillo, Texas sits one of the most famous landmarks on Route 66. I was there on business a few years back so, to make the most of my trip, I had scheduled a photoshoot with a local model to do some concept shots at Cadillac Ranch. The model was late but I was entertained by a herd of cattle that came in to graze around the cars. As a photographer, I’ll shoot anything that has even a slight chance of being interesting.
Cadillac Ranch was created in 1974 as a result of a hippie commune from San Francisco called The Ant Farm. Local rancher/billionaire Stanley Marsh 3rd hired them to come to Amarillo and build a piece of art that would attract tourists traveling on the famous highway. Their concept was to honor the American fascination with cars by burying Cadillacs in the ground, nose first. Over the years, visitors have done a great job of painting graffiti. It adds to the spectacle and let’s everyone and anyone be a participant and not just an observer of the art.
The cows are a rare treat at Cadillac Ranch. I’ve been told they normally aren’t there as they graze elsewhere on the land. This lady was as skeptical of me as I was curious of her. As I started shooting, most of the herd moved away but she stayed there, took some cover and watched me. Maybe it was the clicking of my camera, or the eye contact or the way I was moving around her, getting closer with each step. She didn’t know to trust me, but she was willing to find out.
I hope we can stop insulting each other, because we don’t agree on politics. I hope we can stop assuming we are all the same when we aren’t. Let’s be curious of each other. It doesn’t mean we have to all agree. We just need to understand that no person or idea (or leader or ideology) is always right or always wrong. That means that we (you and me) are wrong sometimes, too. Maybe the more we learn why other people think what they think, the better off we’ll all be. This cow had a choice. She could hold her ground and let me get close to her so she could see who I am and why I am invading her space or, she could run before realizing I was a harmless dude with a camera as fascinated by her and her surroundings as she was of me. I figure, if cows can mix with tourists and a Texas rancher can mix with hippies, then we should all be able to get along, too. Our country, and our lives, depend on it.