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No Valet Parking

, 1994

Galleria Photology

This small-format hardbound book accompanied Bruce Weber's exhibition at Galleria Photology in Milan in 1994. It featured images from throughout his career taken exclusively in the Montana towns near his ranch in Big Sky Country. In his essay for the book, Bruce captures the unassuming essence of the western way of life held dear by his western friends and neighbors, a commingling of myth and reality, rich tradition and reluctant change: "A lot of people come to Montana wanting to experience the west and become a cowboy just like John Wayne. I couldn't imagine doing that, because I don't ride, I don't hunt animals, and I never wear cowboy boots. But that's OK, because nobody in Montana cares what you look like or what you do. There's an old story that Steve McQueen once came to the Chico Inn in Montana with Ali McGraw. He was there to meet Sam Peckinpah and start work on "The Getaway. Steve walked into the bar and asked the bartender for a beer, and the bartender said, "Hi, my name's Jim–what's yours?" Hesitatingly he answered, "Steve McQueen." And the bartender said, "Where're you from, Steve?" Montana goes against the expected, and maybe that's one of the reasons it's become the place that Nan, me, and our four dogs are proud to call home. It always reconnects me to the earth and what comes with it. One day it's sunny and 104 degrees, and the next there's a blizzard. One morning you may wake up and find a hundred stubborn cows on your front door… …Our nearest neighbor is John Hoiland, a Norwegian who at seventy years old has been living in Montana all his life. Two winters ago he built his own bridge by himself. When i first met him he was dressed all in faded gray. I walked up to him, forgetting that I wasn't in New York City, and after introducing myself, I told him that I thought he was very handsome and that I wanted to photograph him. He didn't laugh and wasn't embarrassed, but replied seriously, "I'm pretty busy now, 'cause it's haying season." After we had a beer together, he ended up posing with his favorite accordion. I took a walk with him and he pointed to a bluff which overlooked the world. He told me his parents were buried there because they wanted to have a good view."