Myth and reality, signs and omens, truth and lies, permanence and passage, geography and habitat:  reports and stories from the American West.  

Click an image to scroll through larger pictures.
 

Churchyard Calvary, Saratoga, Wyoming
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
Manzanar, Owens Valley, California

The Japanese characters on the monument are interpreted as "Soul Consoling Tower."
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
War Hero, Colorado
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
Myth of the West.

Photographed in 1980 in Venice Beach, California.

"The Fall of Icarus" was painted by artist John Wehrle in the late '70s, on a wall facing the ocean in Venice Beach. I found that it brilliantly encapsulated the mythology of the American West, of manifest destiny, entitlement, exploitation, ambition and folly.

The mural has been tagged, graffitied and overpainted out of existence, which to me represents an ironic footnote to the American dream.
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
Roundup, Soap Lake, Washington, 2006

Mural by William J Barth
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
Winnemucca, Nevada
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
Rocky Mountain Bandshell, Great Falls, Montana
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
Roundup, Montana
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
Cowboys and Aliens, Lovell, Wyoming

I photographed this theater in 2011 because of the dated and iconic architecture and also because of the movie title. It was 2020 before I came across Stephen Shore's 1973 picture of the same theater from a virtually identical viewpoint. Very little had changed in the intervening 38 years.
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
The Story of Verona, Montana
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
The Story of Verona (Detail)
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
Mora, New Mexico
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
Small Hope, Desert Aire, Washington

A local rancher erected the sign when his wife became severely ill. She recovered.
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
Butte, Montana, 2007
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
Left Field, Seneca, Oregon

In February, with blowing snow obscuring the horizon, a bear in cleats surveys a snowed-in ballfield.  Seneca lies at the extreme northwest corner of the Great Basin. The bear faces southeast, away from the Cascades and toward the desert basins of southeast Oregon and Nevada.

I can construct a geographical fantasy in which the fence is the hydrological divide: the snow melt to the west beyond the fence will find its way to the Columbia River and the Pacific, while water from the snow in the ballfield will flow eastward to evaporate in the shallow lakes and alkali pans of the Great Basin Desert.

This fantasy, too precise by far, accounts for the physical geography as well as the human defining and re-shaping of it.
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
American Idol, in the Bakken, North Dakota
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
At the End of Hanging Woman Road, Wyoming

The landowner directed his message at the giant Halliburton trucks racing to the gas fields 10 miles up Hanging Woman Road, raising dust, spewing gravel and scaring livestock.
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
Ranch Gate, Columbia Plateau, Washington
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
Tye Moore's Place, Wyoming
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
Antelope Coulee Ranch, Montana
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
Derelict Ranch, Wind River Reservation, Wyoming
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
Ranch Gate on the High Plains, New Mexico
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
Prairie Pennants, Montana
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
ZX Ranch, Paisley, Oregon

The ZX, owned by J R Simplot Co., was at the time of this picture, and likely still is, the largest working cattle ranch in the US.
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
Volchek's Workshop, Grand Coulee, Washington

In 1995, an iinventor from Grand Coulee named Volcheck drove across the country and back in a vehicle modified to run on a special gas he had invented, following a clue from Leonardo da Vinci. The trip consumed $10 worth of his wonder fuel.

After word got out, he was invited back to Washington DC to meet with important government people. While he was in D.C., federal agents raided his workshop in Grand Coulee and destroyed or confiscated his plans and components. He was subsequently convinced by government agents to forego any such projects in the future.

Anyway, that's the story the locals told me, and that's how it is told on the internet.
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
Republic, Washington.

This is a rectangular block of concrete, erected in front of a natural wall of well-columned basalt. Republic is in mining country. As a part of the town's summer festival, miners compete with their jack drills by drilling holes in the concrete (and a few in the basalt as well). Similar objects can be found in other mining towns around the west.
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
John Wayne in Monument Valley
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
Wiley City, Washington
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
Billings, Montana
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
Newcastle, Wyoming
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
Magdalena, New Mexico
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
Custer Died for Your Sins.
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
Great Divide Basin, Wyoming

The continental divide splits around this high desert basin, essentially a bathtub on
the divide.
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
All there is in Dad, Wyoming (part 1)
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
All there is in Dad, Wyoming (part 2)
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
Mojave Media, California
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
Wyoming
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
Ranchlands, Oregon
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
Ranchlands, Oregon
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
All the Local Brands, Alpine, Texas
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
Paradise Valley, Nevada
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
North Palm Springs, California
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
A Moment to Reflect, Steens Mountain, Oregon
Photographs by John A Kane Sagebrush Stories
Moment to Reflect (detail)