Manuello Paganelli

“Black Cowboys”


This portrait is from photo documentary on Black Cowboys which commenced in 1994, exploring and examining the elements and regional influences within this developed sub-culture. At the end of a hot dusty afternoon I was getting ready to pack my gear and drive away. It had been an uneventful day until I walked by the corral and was captivated by these two brothers that were relaxing between events. In that moment and with their stars and stripes in their eyes, with a glint of hope and young dreams, I saw the hardship endured by generations before. I loaded my Hasselblad with a roll of black and white Kodak T-Max and went to work.


I never planned on becoming a photographer then I found the powerful work of Ansel Adams. Hypnotized, I called Mr. Adams, which lead to a mentoring friendship. My photo break began at The Chattanooga Times and soon after I left and continued on a successful career. I maintain a passion for sharing my subjects’ stories through documentary work. In 1995 my documentary from my Cuban project was exhibited. The Washington Post wrote: “Paganelli’s Cuban photographs are a brilliant window on a land and people too long hidden from North American eyes… Paganelli brings an artist’s eyes and a native son’s sensibility to his superb photographs.”

Selected by Anne Lyden, International Photography Curator at the National Galleries of Scotland.