"The Western Way and Traditions"
Bev Fairclo-Ott is an artist and photographer currently residing in Klamath Falls, Oregon with her husband, Larry. She grew up in Tulelake, California surrounded by nature, animals, ranches, and farms. This way of life, the culture of the area, the geography and landscape around her have been a powerful influence on her life and work. Her background has provided her with a unique vision and way of seeing the land, the people, and the cultural artifacts of their daily lives. Indeed, documenting this way of life has always been very important to Bev, and being a contributor to The West Revisited gave her a wonderful opportunity to do exactly that. She immediately recognized the value of the project in terms of documenting and disseminating information about a way of life that is no longer lived by as many people as it once was.
Bev recognized from the beginning that there were stories to be told here and she set out to do just that, using her camera as a lens through which to focus on what is truly authentic instead of romanticizing a vanishing way of life. As a cultural insider who has always had a recognition of the importance of the traditions and activities within it, she brings a keen photographic eye to her subject matter. Her background allows her to connect with her subjects in ways not possible for an outsider. Her respect for the people and their way of life is evident throughout her work.
Of the experience of doing the project, Bev states, "I wanted to portray traditions that are greatly respected in Western communities and to show those unfamiliar with these lifestyles what is truly authentic. This photographic project was challenging, but it allowed me to meet interesting people I might otherwise never have come in contact with. I especially enjoyed photographing buckaroos in eastern Oregon. Seeing the west through a camera lens opened my eyes to the connection I have with the people who work the land and tend animals for a living. These are the same type of people I grew up with, so for me, this project was a way to return to my roots. It has been an incredibly rewarding journey."