Timeless Photographs Capture ‘The Simple Life’ of Colorado Cattle Ranchers


Timelessness is a quality we all strive for in our images. It’s a quality earned, not given, through the time and effort put into conceptualizing, visualizing and capturing an image.

And when it is earned, the results are phenomenal… oftentimes winding back the clock or making time seem almost irrelevant to the image. Such is the case for the work of Michael Crouser, a Minnesota-based photographer who has spent the past eight years documenting cattle ranching families in Colorado.


The photographs Crouser captures leave us guessing at when they were taken and what gear was used. Monochrome, filled with distinct tones and dramatic contrast, the images seem to almost pop off the screen.

Speaking with the Huffington Post, Crouser was asked about the lifestyles and work of the cattle ranching families he’s spent just shy of a decade documenting.

His reply, as you might expect, was that the work these families do is not for the faint of heart; however, for generations it’s all they’ve done, and therefore all they know. They will continue to live “the simple life” for as long as they can until developers begin taking the land away piece by piece.


On that note, Crouser goes on to point out that such a lifestyle probably isn’t going to be one that his subjects’ children and grandchildren will have.

“As the land in this region of Colorado becomes more valuable and practical for development than for growing hay and grazing cattle, ranching will disappear,” he tells Huff Po. “Along with these families, their operations and traditional ways of working.”

Below is a collection of images Crouser has been kind enough to share with us:














Crouser_M_Rolling Hay


To see more of Crouser’s Mountain Ranch series, or if you’d like to browse through the rest of his portfolio, head on over to his website or give him a follow on Facebook and Tumblr.

(via Photojojo)

Image credits: Photographs by Michael Crouser and used with permission

  • Matthew Neumann

    By “timeless” does he mean “mostly out of focus and improperly exposed”? Only a couple of those even have a sharp spot in them. The framing and moments are great, but I can’t say much for the technical aspects.

  • amiright

    Did you really just say that?

  • Regardt

    This is AMAZING. LOVE!

  • Elias

    Disagree. This guy is clearly applying some kind of old-timey PS effect which is creating that weird blurry edge to everything. It’s a pretty common “Old West” look. He’s also clearly either underexposing on purpose, or adjusting exposure after the fact for effect. I agree, I wish he wouldn’t over-manipulate these shots because they’re great as is and the effects take away from the quality of the photos in my opinion. But he’s clearly in full control of what he’s doing.

  • Matthew Neumann

    Sure did. Let me guess, you’re one of those people who are enthralled by anything with a vintage – inspired filter applied?

  • Richard

    Excellent. Creates exactly the right feeling.

  • Aezreth

    Love the photos, but they deserve better editing.

  • etothej

    I actually think these are great! They just breathe atmosphere.

  • Vin Weathermon

    The images are great; but I don’t like the glowy dark halo wherever there is high contrast. Ruined the authentic look.

  • Will Van Beckum

    I’ve worked with Michael. He shoots film and processes in the darkroom by hand… so any effects your seeing are “authentic”. Funny how the assumption when seeing a handmade process these days is to blast the artist for abusing software.

    Also sharper does not equal better. A photo has to have a soul, and these definitely do.

  • amiright


  • Gary

    Guessing you’ve never used film nor have any idea of its characteristics, otherwise you could have saved yourself the embarrassment of sounding like a complete douche. Its a great set and goes to show you dont need to have the best gear to create something meaningful. Well done to Micheal on a fantastic set of images.

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  • amiright

    True, true.

  • Keith D

    He is an internationally known photographer who has published several books. I believe he still shoots a lot of film with a Leica and does a lot of the processing and developing himself. I am sure those action shots with a Leica aren’t exactly easy. What do you have done?

  • Matthew Neumann

    Those are shot on Leica? Well now I’m even less impressed.

  • Keith D

    I did not say they were. I just said he still uses a film Leica and taking action shots with one would be difficult. I did not directly say they were shot with one.

  • Lois Bryan

    Stunning photographic artwork!! Timeless indeed.