© 2019 Anna Van Lenten

Delta Hill Riders / Rory Doyle

July 2018

© Rory Doyle

Exhibit opening & talk

Tuesday, June 19, 2018. 7 PM

Moderated by Half King Photo Series Curator Anna Van Lenten

Delta Hill Riders shares the story of African-American cowboy culture in the rural Mississippi Delta. Doyle’s ongoing personal project challenges the Hollywood portrayal of the American cowboy. The work highlights the black cowboys and cowgirls in the Delta as a proud group existing beyond the movie image of the American West.

 

The project began in early 2017 when Doyle attended a rodeo celebrating black cowboy heritage in the region. Over the past year, he’s documented this band of horse riders in a place not typically known for its cowboys. 

 

A recent article from Smithsonian estimated that one in four cowboys were African-American following the Civil War — yet this population was drastically underrepresented in popular accounts. Delta Hill Riders sheds light on a prominent sub-culture historically overlooked, even in the Mississippi Delta.

 

NOTE: Images from Rory's project were concurrently on exhibit at Tikhonova Gallery in Harlem, June 17-July 29, 2018. Rory gave an artist talk there on Sunday, June 17th at 4 PM. See Tikhonova web site for details.
 

RORY DOYLE (USA, 1983) is a photographer based in Cleveland, Mississippi — the heart of the Mississippi Delta. Doyle’s editorial work highlights populations in the region that are often unnoticed or underserved. Along with his series about African-American Delta cowboys, he has also documented the growing Latino population in an area most known for its black and white history.
 

Doyle’s publication list includes The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, ESPN’s The Undefeated, Getty Images, Vox Media and Financial Times. Full-time, he provides marketing imagery for Delta State University.

 

Doyle has twice assisted Ron Haviv, photographer and co-founder of VII, while he instructed the documentary photography course for Barefoot Workshops in Clarksdale, Mississippi.