One Tough Cowboy
Yes, real cowboys still exist.
Thanks to a friend, I was invited to spend some time living on a working ranch and photographing day-to-day cowboy life.
Joe Maher is a tough, but soft-spoken all business cowboy who hires out to cattle ranchers to round-up, rope, tag, and drive cattle. His reputation precedes him. I heard him called a miserable SOB from more than one source, so I was a little unsure about going to live in his house for a week.
I found Joe and his wife Barbara to be kind, genuine, hospitable, and unpretentious folks.
Joe also raises horses for sale. Wherever he goes at least one of his dogs is following, ready to help move cows by nipping at their heals.
Working with young colts and fillies is where Joe’s soft side shows through. Make no mistake, these horses are not pets. They are well cared for, but they spend most of their time outside to condition them to the uneven terrain they will be working in. Even so, the horses come right up to Joe as if to say hello.
Watching Joe work was an experience I’ll not forget. I heard it said that one cannot tell where Joe stops and the horse begins. They move and seem to think as one.
I designed and sent them a photo album with some of my favorite images.
Thank you Joe Maher
What do children really need? Do they need expensive toys and organized sports to be happy? Do they need the latest fashion?
A happy home life and an active imagination will do a child well.
We had a prime open air window seat for a quick lunch at Kilometro Zero when this young man came begging for money for refresco. I told him no, we were eating, but he would not go away.
He would back off a few meters, then approach and ask again. I was as forceful as I could be, but he would not leave.
On the sidewalk after lunch I flashed this youngster a CUC and told him he would have to earn it by posing for a photo. He seemed a little unsure, but I got him across the street into some better light and snapped a few images. Robert was translating on the fly and told the young man he was earning the money and it was not a handout. I suppose he bought a cold drink because it was very hot, but at that point it was his money.
My latest trip to my favorite island was to help a longtime friend. No, not a Cuban, but an American-Cuban, Robert Ortiz. Robert and I have known each other for 15 years. We are both photographers. Robert operates a successful wedding and family portrait business. I dabble in everything except business.
Robert made a commitment to find the father he had not seen in decades. He knew his father lived in Havana, was not in great health, and was at least 82 years old. I was asked if I could help. I must say, it was an honor to accompany Robert and document his reunion.