Traveling to cities including Henry, Idaho to Rodeo, New Mexico and Douglas, Wyoming, New York based Peter Kayafas shares his six year documentation of North America's western states with The Way West. The black and white photographs convey a strong sense of connection that these people of various cultures, be they Native American, White or Hispanic, have to the land. The rough terrain of North America's west is a part of the individuals—magnified by the true spirits of these youths who inhabit it and the adults who taught them how. His last solo show at Sasha Wolf Gallery in 2011, Totems, following a similar theme of an exploration of the vast nature of this land touched by human roots, has now been turned into a book. His work is strictly documentary, not judging or giving a response to what he sees but presenting the true nature of what exists. Although dilapidated or desolate structures may suggest a state of decline of some form, the calmly posed teenagers and traditional group activities remind us that the west is alive and strong through the people and the overlapping cultures that firmly make up the area. His lens is honest and captures that, cowboy at the rodeo or teenager at the county fair, the pride runs deep and the saddles tough in the west.
The show runs until June 8.
Text by Amanda Everich
Photos by Elliott Brown and Antonio Williams