With the Pendleton Round-Up right around the corner, September 12 – 15, we look back at last year’s event through the lens of photographer Christy Burleson.
Christy Burleson knows how to capture the perfect moment with her camera and will do whatever it takes to get it. With over 25 years behind the lens, Burleson has found herself galloping horses, climbing ladders, and getting up close and personal with bulls at rodeos.
One of her most treasured photo journeys has been documenting the high-energy atmosphere and authentic representation of Native American culture at the world-famous Pendleton Round-Up & Happy Canyon in Pendleton, Oregon.
“I’ve always been fascinated with the Western culture, and of course Native American culture is so beautiful and there are so many elements to learn about it,” Burleson says. “To be invited by one of the elders from the Pendleton Round-Up was huge. [She] said to me, ‘I love your work and I want you to photograph our culture with your eye.’ That was the most amazing compliment I have ever had.”
Her dramatic and dynamic images are distinctive for their rich color, contrast, and perspective. Among the standouts is a striking shot of a Native American girl holding a basket of corn. It’s one that Burleson feels personally connected to.
“There was a little girl in Pendleton. They were about to have a barbecue and one of the Indian princesses was carrying corn. … The most amazing thing to me was that turned out to be her family’s favorite photo.”
This year, the Pendleton Round-Up runs September 12 – 15. Experience last year’s event below through Burleson’s eye.