back to the ranch

photograph by Matt O'Brien

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Matt O'Brien

A ranch is home to a lot more things than just cowboys and cattle: the diversity of flora and fauna and the relationships among them are extensive and marvelous. These ranches are full of history-- natural history, like the deer trails that have been used for ages, and the scattered feathers and bones of animals that tell of life and death struggles, as well as human history: next to the cattle trails, which may have been trod by the great herds of Mission San Jose and the land grant ranchos, you might come across an old rusted pickup truck, an old hay rake, or some other agricultural implement from the 20s or 30s, or perhaps the ruins of a barn or an old homestead site. On some ranches arrowheads have been found.

When these places are paved, however, all of that goes. All links to the past, all wildlife and natural history, are covered by a homogenous suburbia that looks the same wherever you go. Lost is a unique California culture and a unique California landscape.

Back to the Ranch is my celebration of the California that I grew up in and that I love.

the exhibition | photo gallery | ucr/cmp