The Gather began as a conversation about a colophon (an emblematic device, or a note, especially one relating to the circumstances of production, as the printer’s or scribe’s names place, and date, put at the conclusion of a book or manuscript – or in this case a limited-edition print). Photographer Scott T. Baxter invited me to write a quote for his new limited-edition print Hands & Honda, Jim O’Haco, the O’Haco Cattle Company, Coconino County, Arizona, early morning, November 8, 2006. I was flattered, accepted the honor, and then surreptitiously googled colophon to understand what I’d gotten myself into (self-deprecation has served me well in life).
Now, it’s important to know that Baxter and I have been colleagues – and friends – for a dozen years, dating back to 2010 when I was a newly-minted Executive Director at the Desert Caballeros Western Museum in Wickenburg. I’d been on the job all of three days or so when Baxter was introduced to me by our dear mutual friend Becky Hays Rovey. That meeting set in motion a series of collaborations over the years that continues to this day.
Baxter captured rancher Jim O’Haco at the O’Haco Cattle Company, south of Winslow, whilst discussing his work for the day. O’Haco and his team were moving cattle from New Tank to Red Tank for shipping on November 11, 2006. Baxter noticed Jim’s hands comfortably holding his rope, and he exposed two negatives. This image was featured on the cover of his book, 100 Years 100 Ranchers, published in 2012. 100 Years 100 Ranchers was an official Legacy Project of the Arizona Centennial, 1912-2012.
Hands & Honda is quintessential Baxter, honoring ranching traditions, preserving cultural legacies, and capturing the spirit of Arizona’s roots. Disembodied from the landscape, and the subject, Hands & Honda personifies the lifestyle that lures people from around the globe to the North American West. This is one of nearly 150 images that is included in a new exhibition at Western Spirit opening during the Winter holidays.
THE GATHER – A Portrait of the American West – Scott T. Baxter will include the best of several of Baxter’s fine art photography projects over the past 22 years. The exhibition is just in time for the 10th anniversary of the Arizona state centennial – at which time Baxter was recognized as an Arizona Culturekeeper for his efforts to photographically preserve Arizona’s heritage. Stay tuned for more news about the exhibition and associated public programs later this Fall.