Exposure

The Hard-as-Hell, Beautiful Life of a Cowboy

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Photo: Luis Fabini
The cowboy culture of the American West takes a historical backseat to every other region in the Americas. But whether in Texas or Brazil, the core of a cowboy is the same: a connection between man, animals, and the land. Uruguay-based photographer Luis Fabini spent the last decade photographing these men across North and South America and has narrowed down thousands of images into a new book called Cowboys of the Americas. Here, Fabini shares some his favorites images and characters from book.

Photo: Vaqueiros in Brazil. Their handmade leather armor not only protects the men from the burning sun, but also shields them from bare branches and long, sharp needles of the surrounding bush.
Photo: Luis Fabini
A Brazilian vaqueiro rides through the forest after news of missing cattle. As a group, the vaqueiros are known for their speed and intensity.
Photo: Luis Fabini
A group of men driving cattle to auction in Brazil. The comitiva, or cattle drive, can take as long as a month for some, depending on the location of their herd.
Photo: Luis Fabini
Pedro Arthur, a cattle breeder, hard at work in the countryside of Brazil.
Photo: Luis Fabini
Gauchos at Estancia La Invernada in Uruguay roping colts for gelding.
Photo: Luis Fabini
A portrait of a Uruguayan gaucho. Only years of cattle work—spending nights out in the open with a poncho as a blanket, the saddle as a pillow, and a sheepskin as a mattress—could produce a look like this.
Photo: Luis Fabini
Five men struggling to overpower a bagüal or bronco at Estancia Santa Beatriz, Uruguay.
Photo: Luis Fabini
Ecuadorian cowboys, called chagras, rounding up wild horses on a foggy, wet afternoon.
Photo: Luis Fabini
Guido Villamarín showing respect to the still-active Cotopaxi volcano in Ecuador on his way to a local roundup.
Photo: Luis Fabini
Enraged after being lassoed, a bull’s blood pressure can become dangerously high. To avoid its death, the chagra will cut a piece of the bull’s tail to release pressure.
Photo: Luis Fabini
In the last push of a twelve-day roundup, chagras bring 2,000 head of wild cattle into the corrals on a large ranch in Ecuador.
Photo: Luis Fabini
A Texas cowboy getting help roping horses from the next generation.
Photo: Luis Fabini
Denley Norman, a Nebraskan cowboy, working a calving on a hot summer day.
Photo: Luis Fabini
Before dinner on a Texas ranch, an older cowboy keeps to himself while others catch up on their daily reading.
Photo: Luis Fabini
A lone cowboy in Alberta, Canada, waits for the signal to move a group of bulls. Ranching in the pipeline-laden Canadian Rockies is as tough as gets. For those who haven’t already leased or sold their land to the oil and gas industry, the winters are as harsh as they are beautiful.

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