'A CELEBRATION OF THE AMERICAN WEST'
June - July 2015
Buffalo Bill Cody once said, “A man can get closer to God out here in the big, free west.” There is really no doubt that that is a true statement. All one has to do is drive through the mountains near Cody, Wyoming to discover the veracity of that statement.
Each of the photographs in this show was made in the Intermountain West region of the United States. The Intermountain west is a region of immense beauty and wild extremes, both in terms of geography and also climate. From high deserts to 14,000 foot peaks, from 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer to -40 degrees in the winter, it requires raw toughness to survive in this place.
You will see animals like the Bighorn sheep that can navigate unimaginably steep terrain and thrive in the brutal winter by rooting through the snow. There is the American Pika, a tenacious little mammal that lives in high altitudes in the mountains and spends the short summer harvesting grass to survive the long winter months. You will see other hardy inhabitants in the mule deer, bison, and raccoon.
You will see the men and women who shaped the west. I have striven to capture their toughness and tenacity, but also grace and beauty. Of course, a cowboy’s closest companion, his horse, is featured prominently in many of my images. No western celebration would be complete without the rodeo.
Finally, you will see the landscapes that make the American West so iconic, and that have shaped its history and its people.
Ultimately, this show is a celebration of people, places, and wildlife of the great American West. I have striven to capture the spirit of this place through my photography of its incredibly diverse wildlife, its tough but friendly people, its official sport, rodeo, which developed from actual working ranch activities, and its grand vistas.
Dr. Jason B. Whitman was born and raised on a small ranch just outside Cody, WY and is a proud 4th generation Wyomingite. He completed the first two years of his collegiate education at Northwest College in Powell, WY and finished his Bachelors of Science in Biology at Ferris State University in 1999. His Doctor of Optometry degree was earned at the Michigan College of Optometry in 2001.
Jason’s photographic career began with the purchase of a Canon EOS Elan as a graduation gift to himself in 2001. He had always been a fan of fine art photography by the great landscape artists such as Ansel Adams, John Fielder, and John Shaw, as well as Arthur Morris‘ masterful bird images. Camera in hand, he began to explore the possibilities offered by the landscapes in Indiana and North Dakota while completing residencies.
It did not take long before the hobby became an obsession and the desire to move back to the West was overwhelming. After a short stint in Idaho, Jason moved back to Wyoming and began to develop a photographic vision for the people, places and wildlife of the American West.
In June of 2014, Jason was able to take a workshop offered by famous western photographer, David Stoecklein. This turned out to be a life-changing event, and he began to pursue photography as a potential career path. Mr. Stoecklein, and his sons, became good friends and mentors, significantly influencing the style of Jason’s work. Other influencers include artists such as Frederick Remington, C.M. Russell, Alfred Bierstadt, Thomas Moran, Alfred Eisenstaedt, and Charles Belden. Several contemporary photographers have also been important in the progression of Jason’s work. Joe McNally and JoeyL have been instrumental in discovering and exploring new lighting techniques and concepts and Scott Kelby has been critically important in terms of editing and Lightroom expertise.
The images in his portfolio reflect his passion for the American West and the western lifestyle. From Big Horn sheep to the landscapes in the Absaroka-Beartooth wilderness, from a cowboy roping a calf at a branding, to a cowgirl working the herd, each image is designed to tell a story. Jason’s goal is to preserve and share the spirit that makes the American West such a magnificent place.
Jason’s work has been featured in Photoshop User Magazine, has been sold at William Shatner’s Charity Horse Show Auction in Hollywood, and will be shown in Scarlow’s Gallery in Casper, WY in a show entitled “A Celebration of the American West.”