The launch of Jane Hilton’s photographic exhibition and accompanying journal, Dead Eagle Trail, was a Honduras Street hoedown complete with hay-bales, Stetsons and shot girls wearing Daisy Duke shorts and little else!
Having made front cover of the Saturday Telegraph Magazine the previous week, the preview was completely rammed but braving the throng and squeezing around the exhibition itself was certainly worthwhile.
Setting out to document that cultural archtype, the all American cowboy, Hilton’s fascinating series, shot over a staggering four and a half year period, features her subjects within their own personal environments – both out in the field as one would expect but also in their own homes lending a starkly contrasting domestic slant to the collection.
In so doing, she explores and attempts to demystify the romantic icon of the Wild West, raising interesting debate on his place within the twenty-first century. Hilton’s inspiration for the title came from one of her many road-trips across the western states of America where she discovered a dead Golden Eagle on a road in Nevada.
Every picture tells a story, from that of veteran cowboy, Johnny Green, who once sold horses to John Wayne to handsome young buck Jeremiah who travelled from Alaska to New Mexico, breaking in wild horses and taking on stints on ranches along the way to fund his trip.
Dead Eagle Trail will be exhibited at HOST Gallery, 1-5 Honduras Street, EC1, 020 7253 2770.
Until 15 May. The book is published by Schilt Publishing (www.thamesandhudson.com) on 3 May