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8 Seconds Black Rodeo Culture

8 Seconds Black Rodeo Culture

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Glorious tributes to contemporary Black rodeo culture across America

In 2015, photographer Ivan McClellan attended the Roy LeBlanc Invitational in Oklahoma, the country’s longest-running Black rodeo, at the invitation of Charles Perry, director and producer of The Black Cowboy. “It was like going to Oz―there was all this color and energy,” McClellan says. “There was a backyard barbecue atmosphere … It felt like home.” Over the next decade, he embarked on journeys across America, crafting a multilayered look at contemporary Black rodeo culture. Whether photographing teen cowgirl sensation Kortnee Solomon at her family’s Texas stables, capturing bull riding champion Ouncie Mitchell in action or hanging out with the Compton Cowboys at their Los Angeles ranch, McClellan chronicles the extraordinary athletes who keep the magic and majesty of the “Old West” alive with high-octane displays of courage, strength and skill.
The book’s title refers to the sport of bull riding. Athletes must stay on a bull for a total of eight seconds while it bucks; the more hectic the ride, the higher they score. It’s an apt metaphor for McClellan’s devotion to this long-form documentary project, which required him to hone his reflexes, endurance and stamina to get the perfect picture. With 
Eight Seconds, McClellan honors the highest ideals of independence, integrity and grit with intimate photographs that preserve the deep-rooted connections between people and land.
Ivan McClellan (born 1983) is a photojournalist based in Portland, Oregon. His work has been featured in ESPN: The Undefeated and Fast Company. As a designer, he has led projects for Nike, Adidas, Disney and the U.S. National Soccer Team.

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