Ted Simons: Photographer Scott Baxter is in the middle of a massive project that is called 100 years, 100 ranchers. He's been working on the project for much of the last decade as he traveled the state photographing Arizona ranching family who've been in business since 1912 or earlier. Producer David Majure and photographer Scott Olson met up with Baxter at a ranch in southern Arizona.
Scott Baxter: Hey!
Scott Baxter: Some of these ranches we're photographing aren't going to be around because development will find its way in and there's a lot of ranches I know that there's no one coming up behind them and they'll most likely be sold and I thought, what if photographically I would record some of these families that have been here since 1912 or earlier. I did really plan anything as to what I would do with it. Just wanted to see if I could accomplish it.
Scott Baxter: We call it "100 years, 100 ranchers" and the basically criteria is the family has been ranching in Arizona continuously since 1912 or earlier.
Henry Amado: My ancestors came here from Spain in the 1840s and they were coming to Tucson by covered wagon.
Henry Amado: This is the -- this is my great grandfather. By 1852 is when they set up to ranch here.
Scott Baxter: This family is a very historic family and goes back a long way and a beautiful ranch too. One of my favorite places to be in the whole state -- Santa Cruz county. The photographs should be easy to look at. Doesn't mean it has to be Pollyannish. But easy. And then it's good. If I push too hard and try to+o hard to push a photograph, it doesn't work out for me. I let the photograph come to me. There's not a set process.
Scott Baxter: Want to get the brand on the horse's shoulder.
Scott Baxter: I started scouting the day before knowing I wanted to use the sycamore tree. There's not a -- you know, I don’t have a list what I'm going to do. I walk in and -- and -- it's the way I always work. Wing it and kind of works for me. Doesn't work for everyone, but it does for me.
Scott Baxter: The last one with the camera for now at least.
Henry Amado: I was standing there --
Henry Amado: Straight in --
Henry Amado: -- by the tree and between two horses and with my son and grandson beside me. Very proud.
Scott Baxter: Just gives you an idea. It's a small shot.
Scott Baxter: I want to show that pride. As a group, they're very proud of their heritage and proud of what they do.
Scott Baxter: That's where we're at. We're going to shoot a few more with this camera. With the portraits, you take a little more time and get the frame the way you want it and read the light and shoot it.
Scott Baxter: 125.
Henry Amado: I think it's a wonderful thing that Scott came one this idea.
Henry Amado: This is actually very nice, where we're at now.
Henry Amado: It's recorded history.
Scott Baxter: I don't think they're looking for recognition but I think they like the fact there's going to be a record of this somewhere. For their kids and for the future generations.
Scott Baxter: For me, forget about the pictures, it's the experience, to travel around the state and I usually average -- get into a ranch and getting back, usually three and a half hours each way. It's a lot of miles. Tens of thousands, but I like driving and a get to see a lot of the state. I treated this in a lot of ways just like it could have been shot, you know, 100 years ago. I bring a digital with me, but that's to shoot stuff for them. We're shooting straight black and white,no lights and it's camera, film and a tripod and that forces me to think about composition because I don't have a lot of tricks in my bag and makes you think as a photographer.
Scott Baxter: You have to walk through this gate in these two.
Scott Baxter: We were doing the spring roundup which means bring the cattle in from the Pasteur’s.
Henry Amado: Sorting out the baby cows. We are separating the bigger ones and then kids, because we know there are seven. I don’t know if any rancher works like this at all. And no, I don’t have to do this. I have always been a very successful CPA and with my son as a business partner, my business is still going. Maybe that’s why I can afford to be here. Since they are there, I don’t have to be at the office. I think it is love for the ranch, love on the land.
Scott Baxter: The brandings can be exciting. You have got two guys roping and drags calfs and three or four cowboys. Sometimes with the action stuff, I don't have time to do too much but hang in there.
Scott Baxter: You don't want to be the cause of somebody getting hurt or the cause of livestock gets injured and certainly don't want to get hurt yourself. You stay dialed in to the frame but you have to have a few things going on in your head at the same time and keep yourself cognizant of what's going on around you.
Henry Amado: He's going to brand one. Move your knee!
Scott Baxter: I learned a lot. I wasn't aware I was going to brand a calf yesterday. It was an honor that Henry asked me.
Henry Amado: I was surprised this guy has not had that kind of experience.
Henry Amado: When he branded the first calf, he kind of got a happy smile with it. Well now you're going to learn to castrate a calf.
Henry Amado: And he did one. So he's an expert now ...
Scott Baxter: Now this one is a bit more --- this like the old style.
Scott Baxter: I have not had a bad experience. And I’ve got a story for every single ranch that I’ve been in.
Scott Baxter: That’s perfect. Hold it right there – you know the photographs are the icing on the cake, but the real thing is I just –-
[Voices] That’s it? Thank you sir. It’s in? it’s in.
Scott Baxter: You know there are a great group of people. I have just been honored to have some time with family and just meet them.
Henry Amado: The cow-business is ok. It’s going to keep going. For e.g. this ranch is not for sale. It will continue. One of the kids’ maybe, son-in-law, grand-son-in-law. Who knows? But they will, they will keep it going.
Scott Baxter: They are all hard working. They are just hard working people who just like what they do. And they really love their land. And that’s the kind of thing I come away with. They really love this land and they really want to take care of it.
Ted Simons: 100 years, 100 ranchers will debut at Sky Harbor museum in -- in terminal four.
Ted Simons: That's it for now, you have a great evening!
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