Riding for the Brand Photography

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Tanya Hamner with horses and Barn

The love for the cowboy way has been instilled in me since I was a young girl. I was raised in Wyoming among some of the Lord’s greatest creations. His sunsets, sunrises, mountains, waterfalls, people and wildlife are just a few small blessings I glimpse of his beautiful creation. I live on a sheep ranch in Wyoming with three horses. I work daily with Columbia sheep. I have discovered the beautiful moments and the hardships of what a rancher experiences daily. A cowboy’s way of life embraces hard work, trust and respect. A cowboy lends a hand to a neighbor in their time of need, feeds the hungry, and cherishes the land. It is a life lived for a greater purpose. This is what “Riding for the Brand” means. It is based off a poem my dad introduced me to called Ride for the Brand, by Paul Harwitz. It is a reminder of the life that we should live, that we are here on this earth to serve Christ, our savior. It goes hand with the cowboy’s way of life.

As I set out to start my photography journey I tried to capture everything I saw. I first discovered my love for photography in the darkroom at Northwest College. While I was not a photography major, my Agriculture Communications degree required the Intro to Photography course. I was fortunate enough to have to use a darkroom to develop my own film. When I was in the darkroom for the first time watching my professor develop prints, it was like magic to me. After a few days of my own developing, the darkroom became a magical place that gave me peace and made moments come to life. During this time, I did not think of taking photography to the next level. My professors encouraged me to stick to photography, because I have a unique eye to see what others don’t.

After getting my bachelor’s degree, I decided to pursue my photography and discovered the Academy of Art University. While in school, I wanted to showcase not only the glorious moments of a cowboy, but also the daily struggles and triumphs of the American Cowboy; thus, this is what my unique style in art has become. Instead of staging the scenes, I want to bring the viewer to a live view of what the Cowboy does every day. I ride along with the cowboys to document their livelihood.

While photographing on the side, I run and operate the family sheep ranch. We raise Columbia sheep and Natural Colored sheep. I have my PRCA Photographers Card (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) and now besides traveling to ranches, I travel to PRCA rodeos to capture 8 seconds at a time.

A Cowboy’s way of life embraces hard work, trust and respect, and that is who I am. My handshake is my promise, my word is all you need, and living for God and the greater good is my way of life.

It's all about Riding for the Brand.