Inside a Photographer’s Sexy and Mysterious Rodeo Show

Alexa King’s photography captures a scintillating Western full of the cinematic trappings of a film-lover.

by Cailey Rizzo
Feb 26 2017, 1:15pm

All images courtesy the artist

America was made for the cinema. It is the reason why the idea of a Hollywood golden age still lingers and the concept of the Wild West cannot be separated from Western films.

Alexa King's photography straddles this old, seductive idea of Americana, wrapped up in a beautiful and cinematic package. Her photography is beautiful and easy to appreciate in a quick glance—but it's worthy of a deeper, second look.

After dropping out of NYU Tisch, where she studied film, King worked on film sets in New Orleans as a prop person. She comes from a film family and loved being on set—up until she tore her achilles tendon and was unable to work. With her newfound free time and a high-grade film camera, King began to explore and capture the world around her.

Her work is largely inspired by her move to the South from suburban Maryland. "I would drive through small towns in Mississippi and I would see this little old ladies who have been friends for 50 years bowling together," King tells Creators. "I [was] inspired by these small communities in America."

While photographing her new ideas of the South, King was taken to the rodeo and quickly became fascinated. She started photographing her trips there, incorporating her background in film by employing an ever-cinematic lens. Inspired by equal parts David Lynch and Lana Del Rey, King's version of the rodeo is a sexy, romantic and mysterious escape—in a nutshell, it is cinematic photojournalism.

"You can see through my eyes that i'm falling in love with whatever i'm shooting," King explains . "The first time I went to the rodeo, I was wearing high heeled boots and all black. They would make fun of me and call me Yankee babe. But over time, I earned their trust."

Over time, King integrated herself into the rodeo society. "All the people in these photos have become my friends," she says. The rodeo clown, named Lecile, whom she often photographs has grown to understand what she is looking for in shots. The performers have helped her adjust to working around live animals.

"The love for the rodeo stuff has been so kind and wonderful. I hope I do those people justice and show a different world," King says. "They were so warm and welcoming and lovely. I hope I can do this justice."  

Looks aside, King's background in the arts is also not an indicator of meshing with the community. Although the lighting in King's photography is masterful, she has never trained technically in photography save for a few classes. At the rodeo, she stands apart from the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association sports photographers. Ultimately, her newcomer's ambition sustains her creative drive, along with her distinctive tendency to, no matter wherever she is and whatever she is photographing, feel inspired by the allure of film.

King is working on releasing a book of her rodeo photographs and currently finishing shooting on a feature-length film called Fishbowl. To follow more of King's photography, visit her website, here, or follow her on Instagram, here.


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Alexa King