rough rider

8" x  10"

i've always looked up to my brother joe.   he lives his life without compromise, the way he wants to, whether or not everyone approves (which they don't always).  that means a lot to me because i've always been one of those "good kids": living by the book, following the rules (more or less), and boring myself completely.  my brother, he has more cojones than most people i know.  he's fearless, daring, dangerous, and adventurous.  on top of it all, he can make you laugh from the gut, and he has a good heart. 

joe works on trains.  he's a conductor.   he spends hours upon hours on the rails.  it's a rough lifestyle, living out of a suitcase, sleeping in hotels, working through the nights, those long, grueling swing shifts.  it's dirty, grimy, stressful, and dangerous.  he's been on derailed trains, trains that broke apart, on trains that ran over humans and animals, on trains that nearly collided, he's hopped trains and chased trains and jumped off of trains and painted trains, trains full of garbage or metal or grain or petroleum or coal... it's his job and he does it with pride.  and i know from his photos that he sees some of the most beautiful scenery there is.   the backyards, the remote coasts, the open fields, the rivers and valleys, the underbelly of america. i imagine what it's like: the lull of the engine and the grinding metal, as he travels miles upon miles to bring the goods to where they go.  that's my brother joe.


  1. Gea! Thats me ,keeping it rail. ! Luv you sis

  2. this is my favorite so far. thanks for sharing Jess, it's beautiful to read about your process.