This article originally appeared in VICE Australia
While many Marlboro Men have died of lung cancer, Ed Forbis is still living the cowboy lifestyle. After a long career of posing for some of the most notable Marlboro commercials of the 1980s, Forbis spends his time packing mules and caring for horses used by park rangers and tour guides. Currently in his sixties and far removed from the limelight, Ed relishes in his simple life.
In February 2016, London-based photographers Lola Paprocka and Pani Paul met Forbis coincidentally at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona.
"We spotted him outside the grocery store in the Grand Canyon Village and asked him to take a few portraits. A few minutes later he came back saying that he had a day off and would happily show us around," recalls Paprocka. The two artists photographed inside his house and around the surrounding area, which is about 150 to 300 feet from the edge of the canyon.
Without knowing anything about Forbis's former occupation before introducing themselves, Paprocka and Paul first approached Forbis because of his photogenic aura. "We found him really interesting and very authentic," Paprocka explains. "Being from Poland and Australia, it was an almost cliche moment of meeting a real American cowboy for the first time in our lives."