In 2013, Rima Canaan Lee attended the Fort Worth Rodeo and Stock Show. Armed with a camera and an inquisitive eye, she documented the event over its twenty-three-day run. She came away with two distinct bodies of work chronicling an active chapter of the American West and the worldliness of American youth.
Lee has captured the rodeo in all its dynamism and pace in a manner that is reminiscent of Italian Futurism. Indeed Lee recognizes an affinity between her photographs and the work of the Futurists, Umberto Boccioni and Giacomo Balla. The allusion to Futurist ideals is pertinent here as the photographs emphasize the speed and immediacy of the events in a quasi chronophotographic style. Lee camouflages the identity of her subjects in favor of indistinct or obscured portraits that emphasize the kinesis and configurations of the bodies.
Lee’s photographs of the Stock Show have a radically different form and function than the Rodeo series. Here, through images of youth and animals, Lee investigates the anxious body, the uncertain body, the remembered body. Also, she examines the future body within a tradition that has taken place for over one hundred years. The photographs depict children in various guises, either in context with their animals, or in a surprising number of pictures, in relation to their mobile devices. These photographs consistently display a startlingly sophisticated or world-weary attitude from those so young.
Rima Canaan Lee was born in Beirut, Lebanon and grew up in Hamburg, Germany. She currently lives and works in Fort Worth, Texas.