The Briscoe Western Art Museum is proud to unveil its first original exhibition — a collection of photographic works by Bank and John Langmore that chronicles the gritty reality of working cowboys in the American West.
The Cowboy Returns, which runs from September 12 through November 29 at The Briscoe Western Art Museum in San Antonio, includes select work from Bank Langmore— considered to be a preeminent photographer of the American cowboy in the 1970s — and his son, John Langmore, a celebrated artist in his own right, who spent the last three years photographing many of the same people and ranches his father documented over 40 years ago. Part of the city-wide Fotoseptiembre USA Photography Festival, the exhibition is free with admission to the museum.
“The working cowboy is idolized because he symbolizes an ideal of the American spirit: one of integrity, hard work, determination and self-sufficiency,” said John Langmore. “And while the cowboy has been glamorized countless times, he has been truthfully documented far less often. My father and I have both attempted to depict both the rewards and difficulties of the cowboy life through our photographs.”
The result of this father/son collaboration is a spectacular collection of more than 100 black-and-white and color prints exhibited for the first time at the Briscoe. Spanning four decades, the photographs were made on dozens of the most famous ranches throughout the West, including ranches in Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Montana, Wyoming and Texas.
Bank Langmore left a successful corporate career in the 1970s to become a full-time photographer. Fascinated with working cowboys, he set out for the country’s largest ranches, occasionally bringing his entire family along and subsequently planting the seed for his son to eventually follow suit. Bank quickly established himself as one of the leading photographers of the American West and his book, The Cowboy, is considered a seminal work on the subject.
Forty years later, John Langmore carries on the family tradition with his own photographs. John spent summers from 6th grade through his first year of law school “cowboying” on big outfits across the West, and his work bears the mark of someone intimately familiar with life in the saddle. From 2012 to 2015, John returned to photograph a number of ranches he worked on more than 30 years ago, many of which were also chronicled by his father.
The Cowboy Returns traces an arc of the cowboy lifestyle across decades and generations, offering an intimate view into the life, work, and legacy of an iconic American profession.