Holding on for dear life for 8 seconds - that’s what bull riders train for all their life hoping to manifest their dreams of cowboy stardom and price money.
Over the course of four years Lili Tanner has documented bull riders at the “Wild Thing” bullring competition in Gallup, New Mexico.
On this particular frontier cowboys and Indians ﬁght the same ﬁght against wild bulls and their own gravity. They embrace a brotherhood of easygoing competitiveness in spirit but also one of support for one another. Friendship and camaraderie are easily detectable in these riders bound together by youth, strength and their shared pursuit of their quintessentially American happiness.
The iconography and mythology of the American West prevails here - denim, leather and even the ﬂowery prints radiate frontier masculinity and authenticity.
“Wild Thing” is not a book about the sport of bull riding. It’s a glimpse into the world of bull riding and the ﬁerce men and women who pursue it with style.
Long live the Wild West!
Lili Tanner is a Swiss-American artist - writer, photographer, designer. She came to photographing cowboys by chance. Or by family, which in her case isn’t far oﬀ. Her brother-in-law organizes the Wild Thing bull riding competition and that’s how she got to go “backstage” for the ﬁrst time. She was taken by the extreme physicality of the sport for man and animal but even more so by the spirited young men and very few women and their timelessness in looks and styling.
LILI TANNER “Wild Thing”
Sturm & Drang Publishers 2019
96 pages, softcover, color