After a two-decade long love affair with US subject matter, Jane Hilton stumbled upon the inspiration for her latest work during one of her many road trips across the western states of America. The title of her book and exhibition refers to her discovery of a dead Golden Eagle in the middle of the road in Nevada. The experience inspired her to document and explore one of the most iconic, romantic archetypes of American culture and history, the cowboy and his way of life.
Dead Eagle Trail marks Hilton’s empathetic portrayal of the cowboy of the twenty first century. Unlike previous expositions of the American West, Hilton’s subjects are photographed within their own personal environments, surrounded by their
collections of artifacts and memorabilia.
During her four and a half year study, an assignment introduced her to a handsome young cowboy called Jeremiah who travelled from Alaska to New Mexico, funding his adventure by breaking in wild horses and taking on stints on ranches. The allure of the Wild West took Hilton to the cowboy states of America where she has documented the lives of many other subjects, capturing their humility, dignity and strength of character.
As a reminder of simpler times without the technological trappings of modern life, Dead Eagle Trail celebrates the buckaroos of Nevada to the cowpunchers of Arizona and the question lingers. Will there be cowboys 100 years from now?
About Jane Hilton
Jane Hilton, photographer and filmmaker lives in London. She started out as a classical musician, graduating in 1984 with a BA (Hons) in Music and Visual Art from Lancaster University. Her love of photography brought her to London, working as an assistant for numerous fashion and advertising photographers, before going it alone in 1988. Early work included both fashion and editorial alongside her documentary projects, which is the mainstay and passion of her work today.
The book Dead Eagle Trail is published by Schilt Publishing (distributed by Thames and Hudson) on 3 May 2010.