The Cowboys of the Twenty-First Century 

The photographer Jane Hilton became enamored with the American West at an early age. Growing up in suburban England, her father made sure she was exposed to John Wayne, Stagecoach, and The Virginian. An infatuation with the American dream took hold and soon, Hilton would find herself roadtripping across the country, camera in tow. She began photographing the cowboys she met along the way, but rather than photograph them on their horses, she shot them in their homes. Their rooms are at once sparse, simple fabrics match traditional wood panels, but also heavily adorned with the trinkets of a life lived out West. “The need to hold onto their heritage is clearly visible,” Hilton said, noting the rising costs of animal feed and many ranches’ struggle to sustain themselves. Her book, Dead Eagle Trail, is a collection of these images. Hilton has shared a selection with The Atlantic, presented below.

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