UCR/California Museum of Photography

Riverside, CA

Photos: John Hazeltine




Back to the Ranch: Photographs of the Diminishing East Bay Cattle Industry

September 25, 1999 through January 2, 2000


Since before the founding of Mission San Jose in 1797 California1s East Bay has enjoyed a long and rich tradition of ranching, today, that tradition is slowly coming to an end. Photographer Matt O'Brien's sixty award-winning black and white photographs document the effects of urbanization upon a particular ranching community. Back to the Ranch addresses the dual and antipodal American dreams of open spaces and freedom of movement on the one hand and individual home ownership on the other. O'Brien's photographs thoughtfully document the suburbanization of a region as strip malls, tract homes and office parks multiply across the landscape. Brief interviews with the subjects of the photographs, the ranching men and women of the East Bay cattle industry introduce audiences to the voices of the subjects of O'Brien's photographs. Capturing a world fading into the past, Back to the Ranch examines the material transformation of an agricultural region into a suburban dreamland built upon beloved mythologies about open spaces and cowboy heroes.

UCR/California Museum of Photography is located at 3824 Main Street, on the Pedestrian Mall in downtown Riverside, California. Regular Gallery and Museum Store hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 11 am - 5 pm. During the Riverside Wednesday Night Street Festival season (April through October) the museum is open until 8 pm on Wednesdays. The museum is closed Mondays. Admission to the museum is free to all. Children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

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