eight seconds project

The Eight Seconds Project Captures Black Excellence in Rodeo

For too long, the image of the cowboy has been a singular one – a white man on a horse, conquering the American West.

But photographer Ivan McClellan’s Eight Seconds Project shatters that stereotype, replacing it with a powerful narrative of resilience and skill: the story of the Black cowboy.

Eight Seconds Project
Ivan McClellan

McClellan’s journey began in 2015 at an unexpected stop – an all-Black rodeo in Oklahoma. Witnessing the Black cowboy culture firsthand ignited a passion within him. Over the years, the Eight Seconds Project has transformed into a stunning visual testament to the enduring legacy of Black cowboys.

Eight Seconds Project

Through his lens, McClellan captures the grit, grace, and unwavering spirit of these men and women. We see them not just riding bulls for eight seconds (the defining moment of a rodeo competition) but also training their horses, tending to their ranches, and living a life deeply connected to the land.

The Eight Seconds Project isn’t just about showcasing exceptional photography; it’s about rewriting the narrative of the Wild West. McClellan’s work has garnered the attention of well known Western brands like Stetson and Wrangler, helping to spread awareness and appreciation for Black cowboys on a national scale.

Eight Seconds Project

The Eight Seconds Project is a powerful reminder that the American West was, and continues to be, shaped by people of color. It’s a call to action to celebrate the richness of our heritage and redefine the cowboys we see on screen and in history books.

Eight Seconds Project

Pre-orders for the photobook, “Eight Seconds: Black Rodeo Culture,” featuring photographs by Ivan McClellan, are now open. The item is set to be released on April 30, 2024.

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