tended to be their historical interest, but there is a numbing repetition
to the images. Collectively they suffer from a too-familiar, overly dra-
matic style, technically expressed by Stryker's fascination for ground-
level viewpoints (which he obtained by balancing his camera on his toe
to give the pictures an increased sense of height and action). The repe-
tition ad nauseam is compounded by his devotion to the "peak-action"
moment, which soon becomes redundant. Unless you are a born-again
rodeo fan, the images quickly blur into cliched postcard-like views.
Such a result is fitting in a way since in later life Stryker drew part of
his income from shooting rodeo events one day and offering action
postcards for sale the next.
On another level though there is a consistently iconic quality to most
of the pictures. Many are exactly what we would "see" in our mind's
eye if we were asked to imagine a "bronc-busting" or a "steer-wrestling"
picture. That is the quality, perhaps, that Tyler, curator of history at
Amon Carter Museum, and Encino publisher Bill Wittliff sought to
preserve. Surely most of the pictures would paralyze an old freeze-frame
editor's smile. But one cannot be sure about the intention from the in-
troduction, which is surprisingly fuzzy on dates and general organiza-
tion. From the introduction's tone and the needless footnotes, I think
we are led to expect more than the book produces.
Although Stryker was photographing during the 190os and 1930s,
only a few rodeo pictures from that era are included in this book. Most
of the pictures are from the 194os and 1950s, when numerous photog-
raphers equally as good were taking similar shots. However, the book
may not be intended for the general public, but rather for a modern
version, if you will, of the rodeo postcard-buying public who still gape
at those precise moments of fear or triumph when man and beast are
deciding who is boss.
It is tempting to say that most of the pictures are silently pleading
for a Warhol to grab them, push them through a silk screen, and turn
them loose into the quintessential pastures of posterdom.
Tim McCoy Remembers the West: An Autobiography. By Tim McCoy
with Ronald McCoy. (New York: Doubleday gc Company, Inc.,
1977. Pp. viii+274. Preface, prologue, index. $8.95.)
Colonel Tim McCoy was one (alongside Tom Mix, Hoot Gibson,
Buck Jones, and Ken Maynard) of the legendary "Big Five" cowboy
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101206/. Accessed March 7, 2014.