The primary goal of this photography project is to visually capture various aspects of life in rural Wyoming. The project arose in the context of an ethnographic fieldwork, which I conducted for my dissertation in cultural anthropology at the University of Mainz, Germany. The fieldwork involved eleven months of living and working in a small town community, gaining firsthand knowledge and understanding of the culture and practices of the people who call this place home. My dissertation project is generously funded by the "Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes".
As a cultural anthropologist and an advocate of cultural relativism, I am aware that certain topics, such as guns, hunting, and rodeo, may be viewed as controversial. However, with this project, my goal is to provide an unbiased look into the lives of the local people and provide and insight to those who may not be familiar with this cultural practices. Therefore, the photographs in this project are not posed and are meant to give an unobtrusive and realistic representation of the community's way of life. My photographic approach combines documentary and aesthetic photography. By aesthetic photography, I understand the use of photography as an art form, where the images are not only informative but also visually pleasing, well-composed, and technically sound. It aims to capture the beauty of the subject matter and the culture being studied, creating a powerful visual representation of the people and the environment.
After a one-month explorative research stay in fall 2019, a longer fieldwork was planned for 2020. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting travel restrictions, I was forced to repeatedly postpone my research in Wyoming and also the entire project was in question for me several times, as there was no end to the pandemic in sight. A situation that many other researchers who could not transfer their research to digital or research remotely also faced. To make use of the time, I decided to start riding in summer 2020, a decision that contributed a lot to the success of this project. Through this ability, my field access was much easier and more intense. It allowed me to participate in horse work, primarily cattle drives, and gain a deeper insight into the way of life of the people and the environment that would have remained partly closed to me without this ability.
I would like to take this opportunity to again thank all the people in the Wyoming community who have so generously made me feel welcome, supported me, and shared their knowledge with me so willingly.
Furthermore, I would like to thank the University of Wyoming and the Anthroplogy Department for making my stay possible.
If there are any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My name is Daniel Jakli and I am a cultural anthropologist from Germany with a keen interest in the study of agricultural practices, rural communities and the dynamic relationship between humans and their environment. I graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor's degree in cultural anthropology and sociology from the University of Bayreuth. In my Bachelor-thesis I examined the decline of interest in rural and agricultural societies and communities in cultural anthropology and related disciplines towards the end of the twentieth century. I then continued my studies in cultural anthropology in the Master's program at the Georg-August University in Göttingen. In 2017, I conducted a four-month field research in Naivasha, Kenya. The region is heavily influenced by the cut flower industry and the population, tourism sector, and flower farms compete for scarce resources. The results of this research culminated in my Master's thesis "Not so Rosy: Neighborhood and Resource Conflicts in Naivasha, Kenya", which I completed in 2018. Since 2019, I have been pursuing my doctoral studies at the Department of Anthropology and African Studies (ifeas) at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. Besides my scientific work, I’m a passionate photographer.
Picture of me taken by Mcenzy Ellison