Date: August 2006
Creator: Seaton, Melynda
Description: The working cowboy remains part of the contemporary culture of Texas. A visual record of him appeared early in the state's history, in daguerreotypes, followed by representations in contemporary black and white as well as color photographs, film and video. Although the way of life for the Texas cowboy has changed, it remains a thriving part of the Texas economy, society, and culture. Moreover, the image of the cowboy has permeated popular culture and fine art. This paper explores what late twentieth century popular culture and fine art images of the cowboy signify, emphasizing aspects of how they signify in relation to an existing tradition of photographic representations. Using Barthes' "Myth Today," it considers how the documentary aspect of early photographic representations of cowboys is transformed in contemporary popular culture and fine art to become mythology, for example, by the exaggeration of features of dress to connote ideals allegorically.
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