Rest in Peace, Uncle Ben

I learned tonight that the Federation of Black Cowboys’ oldest member, Ben “Tex” Miller, has passed away. I last photographed Uncle Ben (as everyone calls him) last June, and I’ve known him since my first days photographing the Federation, in early 2006. Despite a crooked, hunched back and various injuries from his career as a professional bullrider and cowboy, Uncle Ben was one of the most positive, upbeat people I’ve ever met. He was 97.

Ben’s work card, from his teenage years.

A group photograph shows Ben at the World Championship Rodeo, 1959.

Ben’s apartment in Harlem, NYC, June 2009.

Ben deep in thought, springtime 2006.

I made hours upon hours of audio recordings of Uncle Ben detailing his life, from a tiny kid born to emancipated slaves through the hustle of the 1930’s rodeo circuit onto his wild life in New York City. Next month when I’m back in Oakland, I’ll edit some clips and post them. They’re amazing.

A heartfelt goodbye to the man who was quite possibly Harlem’s greatest cowboy.


Chilenizacion de la Fotografia

What might be my last art crush of 2009: The beautiful “Chilenization of Photography” blog.

by Fernando Melo, from his collection “Concepci√≥n fotogr√°fica” (Photographic Conception)

by Rosario Montero Prieto, from the gorgeous series “Habitaciones Paranoicas” (Paranoid Rooms)

by Marco Fredes, from the series “Cuasimodos” (Quasimodos, a central Chilean religious celebration on the Sunday after Easter)