“When people ask me what photography equipment I use—I tell them my eyes” Anonymous.
Riki Kremers is a woman who shares a history with ranch life. “The day was cold, the cows were cold, the snow was falling and they had drifted to the far fence line of the pasture where we found them. When we started to move them out, I thought to myself this is an awesome picture that I am seeing and was able to capture it. Then, after I got to looking at it further, there was really a lot going on in that picture; centered in the very bottom is a completely cleaned skeleton of a buck deer. Obviously [it] had been taken and eaten by a predator, which was just yet another testament to the harsh beauty that we live in”. Here, Kremers is talking about her favorite image slated to appear in her photography exhibit ‘Wyoming Ranch Life Images’. The image, taken in December 2016, tells a story over a 3-panel-triptych canvas of the first winter storm and attempting to gather and wean before the storm could begin. “The rarely seen natural beauty that surrounds my ranching lifestyle” is what inspires Kremers in her photographing endeavors.
Interested in photography for some time, Kremers has kept it as a hobby until the last eight years when she began pushing her skill set to better her images, making them “suitable for a photography exhibit”. She credits her friend, Lisa Shaw, with getting her interested in sharing her images with the world, “A vast majority of all my work is taken on and around a working ranch, unlike many photographers that capture the ranching lifestyle, none of mine is staged or posed— I simply see it with my eye and try to capture the moment with my camera. Sometimes it works into a piece of art and sometimes I end up with a lot of images that just captured the moments of the lives of my friends and family. A lot of my images that aren’t printed for artistic display often tell a story about an event. I try to share those on my Facebook page so my followers get a feel for our sometimes rough and rugged lifestyle—a stark contrast to the otherwise romanticized western lifestyle of the Cowboy often depicted by many photographers”. Kremers, with her focus on telling the true story of ranch life, thus photographing many of her images outside, is a fan of natural light although she admits she has a love-hate relationship with it, “natural light has been the nemesis of several of my images because there is no controlling it. Some of my boldest images such as the silhouette of the cowboy in the sunset was initially a challenge and, if the truth be told, was a flop in regards to what I was really trying to capture. It did, however, turn out to be one of my favorite of all time”.
“My favorite photograph is one that has caught the eye of a viewer, generating an interest in the story of why the moment was captured. Many of the ones in this exhibit are favorites for one reason or another and were chosen because they caught someone else’s eye as well”. Kremers’ collection opened at the Niobrara County Library on Monday, February 6 with an array of images she picked, “Many of the images I chose to exhibit are favorites that I have printed over the years for display. In my opinion they are a unique collection of the beauty that surrounds me and my lifestyle; some depict traditional activities, others represent the bond that occurs between the rancher and his or her animal friends, while a few of the selections portray the harsh reality and natural beauty contrast to the way of life”.
Kremers was “honored” to be asked to display her photographs and very much enjoys how the Ranch Life Images are displayed by the library, “I have taken some senior pictures, but they were done in primarily a ranch setting. I have taken rodeo pictures but I kind of consider them to be ranch life since that is our form of recreation. I was asked to photograph the groom in a western wedding but once again, that was really depicting him on his special day in his ranch life. So I guess all my artistic-type photography has centered on ranching and agriculture, something I am very familiar with and comfortable with shooting. There were a few times that I tried my hand at other sports, basketball being one. I was plenty capable of capturing the moment, just never found much inspiration at the time to continue”.
Wednesday, February 15, Kremers will stand with her images at an open house reception at the library. “Many of my ranching friends and neighbors have rarely been photographed let alone depicted in their element. It has brought me great joy over the past few years to be able to provide some of them with memories of current family members and even those that have gone before us as they enjoyed their Wyoming Ranch Life”.