Rotterdam Photo

Bjorn Staps

European Cowboy 

EUROPEAN COWBOY is a project about a close-knit community of young cowboys in Europe. The men practice ‘bull riding’, part of the classic (American) rodeo and the most dangerous sport in the world. During the summer months, these men travel across Belgium, France, and Italy to pursue their dreams of freedom and heroism by participating in local rodeos. 

For most of them, therefore, bullfighting is much more than a sport; it is part of a lifestyle in which they strive for a sincere and simple life in which man and animal live together without the constant flood of media, news, and society’s expectations. In part, their lifestyle also rests on the ideal image of ‘the Cowboy’ as we collectively remember it from the mythical American West. 

In ‘European Cowboy’, visual elements of this mythical cowboy we know from television series, films, and advertisements are interwoven with the harsh reality of individual dreams, friendship, and vulnerabilities of the real cowboys of Europe in their search for personal forms of identity, expression, and freedom.

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Instagram: @bjornstaps

Rotterdam Photo

Vierhavensstraat 56, 3029 BG Rotterdam