Photographer Richard Phibbs Captures Rodeo and Ranch Life in The West
Photographer Richard Phibbs' book The West chronicles the 18 years he spent traveling throughout Canada and the United States, documenting life on ranches, in the rodeo and within the Stoney Nakoda tribe. During his travels, he visited a full working ranch and caught this cowboy in action.
Members of Western Canada's Stoney Nakoda tribe often attend rodeos in traditional dress. Phibbs, whose first job was sweeping floors at a rodeo in Calgary, Alberta, captured this image in a makeshift photo studio he created by taping a piece of black velvet to a fence. "I think there's something really powerful about that portrait," he tells PEOPLE.
Cowboy hats, uncuffed shirts and pressed jeans are all part of the official dress code of the rodeo – even Phibbs couldn't enter the enclosure without the proper attire. These three boys, two American and one Canadian, were competing in the rodeo.
Phibbs developed such an emotional connection to the aboriginal people he met during his work that he dedicated the book to them. "It's their place," he tells PEOPLE. "We're the ones that landed there. I'm trying to give them the honor and dignity that they deserve."
Horses run wild on the grounds of a Montana ranch. "They're really the most incredible beings," Phibbs says.