rampstyle #28

Into the Wild West

French photographer ANOUK MASSON KRANTZ has accomplished something that only few people have achieved before: she drove through the American West, immersed herself in the world of the cowboy, and became part of their culture. As her photographs so beautifully show.

  • Interview
    Michael Köckritz
  • Fotos
    Anouk Masson Krantz
Who are you?

Who am I? That’s a good question. The best way I can describe it is that I’m a self-taught photographer and a storyteller. And I’m living a sort of double life at the moment. I’m originally from France and moved to New York in my twenties. My life there is a fast-paced life that moves at a dizzying speed, a life that is influenced by technology, screens, likes and followers. And then I have my life out West with incredible landscapes and cowboys.

What did you do when you first came to New York?

Initially I worked in the high-end luxury market, for Barneys New York, Christian Dior and Cartier. And in 2003 I decided to leave my job at Cartier and spend more time taking photography.

How did you come up with the idea for your cowboy project?

Well, we’re constantly hearing that the cowboy has been extinct for the last hundred years, and I wanted to go and see for myself if that was true. And what I found was much different than what I had heard. Our knowledge of the cowboy is based on a lot of misconceptions. What we know about cowboys is pretty much what we see on the silver screen, but in reality it’s a very different story.

“Our knowledge of the cowboy is based on a lot of misconceptions. What we know about cowboys is pretty much what we see on the silver screen, but in reality it’s a very different story.”
Anouk Masson Krantz
1/3
And what is the story really?

First of all, cowboys are very much alive. There’s still a very big cowboy culture and cowboy community in the United States. You can find thousands of rodeos on a weekend during the summer. This culture spreads all the way from Florida to California, from Montana to Texas, and all the states in between. They’re men and women of all backgrounds who have been living this way of life for the past one hundred and fifty years. Pretty much unchanged, but in the shadows of the nation’s consciousness and in the shadows of the world’s consciousness. And I wanted to go and find out for myself what the real cowboy is like.

And what did you find?

A cowboy is a man or a woman who works very hard to look after their cattle. It’s a man or a woman on horseback, with their dogs, driving their herd. That’s the true definition of a cowboy. And they live in mostly untouched, vast, incredible landscapes. Landscapes that are iconic. It’s the frontier, the American West, the land of freedom and independence. For a lot of us, it’s the American dream. And that’s where you’re going to find these hard-working men and women who we hear nothing about but who are putting food on American tables.

That sounds like a life that is far removed from the modern world.

Of course, they have cellphones and trailers and other things that they didn’t have a hundred years ago. But the fact is that a cowboy still works in the same way they did a hundred and fifty years ago. When you’re in the middle of nowhere caring for your cattle, the only way to get there is by horseback, and the only way to do your job is with your hands. And when you’re out in the middle of nowhere, your phone has no reception. There is no Uber, there is no Amazon, there are no stores. It’s just you and these incredible landscapes, with your horse, your dogs, your herd.

(...)

→ read the full interview in rampstyle #28«.

ANOUK MASSON KRANTZ wurde in L’Union in Frankreich geboren und begann schon als Kind zu reiten. Ihre erste Kamera bekam sie mit fünf Jahren, das Fotografieren brachte sie sich selbst bei. Ihr erster Bildband »Wild Horses of Cumberland Island« erschien 2017, es folgten »West: The American Cowboy«, »American Cowboys« und zuletzt »Ranchland: Wagonland«, aus dem auch die Fotos dieser Geschichte stammen. Das Buch ist bei The Images Publishing Group erschienen.
Michael Köckritz

Michael Köckritz

Editor in Chief
As a journalist, author, artist and media maker, Michael Köckritz succeeds time and again in creating both attention-grabbing and sustainably stimulating impulses in the context of contemporary and future topics as well as lifestyle and luxury worlds. As publisher and editor-in-chief, he has realised a whole series of book and lifestyle magazine formats that have regularly won numerous national and international awards over the years. The car culture magazine ramp, the men's lifestyle magazine rampstyle and the design magazine ramp.design are published internationally and are considered style-setting.

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