Jean Perkins

Cowboys and Cattle at Kehler Liddell Gallery 

 January 15 - February 15, 2015

Opening Reception: January 18, 3 - 6pm

On Fire: Saturday, January 24 from 3pm-4pm.

 The Photographic Story of the Burning of the Flint Hills of Kansas with Larry Schwarm, Distinguished Professor of Photography, Wichita State University.


Kehler Liddell Gallery present COWBOYS AND CATTLE, a photography exhibit by member artist Jean Perkins. There will be a special lecture “On Fire: The Photographic Story of the Burning of the Flint Hills of Kansas” with Larry Schwarm, Distinguished Professor of Photography, Wichita State University, on Saturday, January 24 from 3pm-4pm.


While living in Kansas in the mid-nineties, Perkins had the opportunity to explore the Flint Hills region of Kansas, well known for its tall prairie grasses and predominance of cattle ranches. It was there that she accidentally discovered the world of cowboys and cattle featured in this stunning exhibit. 


Before obtaining permission to photograph them, she remembers she had to convince the head cowboy she was up for the task. As Perkins explains, “After about nine hours of riding around in a truck with him saying no, I asked him to explain his reasons, and he said, ‘You are a woman. Women don’t do this.’ Eventually, we worked it out, although it is a very good thing he didn’t ask if I knew how to ride a horse. I didn’t.”


COWBOYS AND CATTLE tells the story of cattle ranching as it is practiced now, with Perkins’ expressive photographs accompanied by wall text. It narrates the season of the Kansas cattle business, which begins in April with the land being set on fire and the arrival of young cattle, and continues on into July when the round-ups begin, and the cattle are loaded into trucks and transported to feed lots.


Many of these images originally appeared in Cattle Season, Perkins’ first photography exhibition. She was inspired, recently, to reevaluate the work. “I wanted to spend time with the photos, and see them again. I’ve made so many images since then, sans horse, and I don’t live in Kansas any more. The work looks different to me now. But, the admiration for this life and love of the land prevails. I’m excited to share it.”


Perkins earned her MFA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago, and has done additional coursework at the International Center for Photography and the School of Visual Arts, New York, NY; the Museum School, Boston MA; Emporia State University, Emporia, KS; and Santa Fe Photographic Work Shop, Santa Fe, NM. She has shown her work in a number of group and solo shows in Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. She is an active member of the Kehler Liddell Gallery.