Between The Covers: Michael Crouser's "Mountain Ranch"

On Wednesday, August 9, 4 – 6 p.m., Telluride’s Between the Covers Bookstore welcomes author/photographer Michael Crouser for a book launch and signing of his latest work, Mountain Ranch. 

Please scroll down to listen to a podcast featuring Michael Crouser.

In his new book of photography, Mountain Ranch, Michael Crouser reveals a way of life hidden in plain sight here in the Rocky Mountain West. We may be slowed down driving on the other side of Dallas Divide by ranch hands moving the herd to a different pasture, or watch our near-neighbors compete at the rodeo in Norwood, but we don’t ordinarily interact with this culture in any intimate way, though we occupy very nearly the same space.

Michael Crouser

Michael Crouser, who grew up in Minneapolis, became serious about photography at age 14, with a darkroom he had set up in his parents’ home. He has worked as a commercial photographer, but his art, captured on film, has been recorded in fine art books, in projects counted in decades.

The Colorado photographs came about as the result of visiting a friend’s ranch here in Colorado in 2006. The invitation was an act of kindness. Michael was grieving the death of his mother, unable to work, and the opportunity to shoot in Colorado not only got him back behind the camera, but resulted in an eleven year labor of love: the book, Mountain Ranch.

Michael Crouser,”Cathedral”

In a 2013 article in Nashville Arts Crouser describes his work method for the images in Mountain Ranch: “I tend to focus on lone figures working on a difficult task. The unifying element is the disappearing world and the timelessness of these cultures.”

Michael Crouser, “Raising”

And now, a decade and many visits to Colorado later, the book is finished. The images I have seen are dramatic, shot in stark black and white, and show this often overwhelming terrain and the ranching people who work it in uncompromising terms. These photographs are an artful depiction of the way of life I grew up with, and personally I can’t wait to see the book.

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Clint Viebrock

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