Jonno Rattman: The Ride of Their Lives, 2015

Peter Hay Halpert Fine Art in conjunction with The Episcopal Academy


Episcopal Academy - Crawford Gallery

1785 Bishop White Drive

Newtown Square, PA 19073

10 November - 18 December 2015


Directions/Telephone: (484) 424-1400


Peter Hay Halpert Fine Art is working in conjunction with artist Jonno Rattman and Philadelphia's Episcopal Academy to mount The Ride of Their Lives, a solo exhibition of Rattman's photography taken on assignment for The New Yorker. The exhibition will run from 10 November - 18 December, with an opening reception 17 November from 12-1:30pm @ the school's Crawford Gallery.

Jonno Rattman is a young photographer and master printer. His photographs offer a dramatic view of the complicated present. Rattman's work has appeared in publications including The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Bloomberg Businessweek, MSNBC, Haaretz, Daily Mail, Matter Magazine,,, and the Virginia Quarterly Review. He has printed exhibitions for, among others, Rosalind Solomon, Gilles Peress, Wafaa Bilal and Neil Selkirk for the Estate of Diane Arbus. He is an assistant designer at Yolanda Cuomo Design, a book and exhibition design studio in New York City. Rattman studied photography, anthropology, and art history, earning a BFA from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.


Was this your first New Yorker assignment?
No, but it was my first time in print for the New Yorker.

What was it like traveling out there?
Long drives and wide-open spaces with country music on the radio.

Talk a little about the rodeos, the kids, the families.
Every year the best young cowboys and cowgirls gather in Abilene, Texas for the Youth Bull Riding World Finals. They range in age from 8 to 18 years old. The youngest ride sheep in a sport called Mutton Bustin’ and the oldest ride bulls.

The rodeo was an incongruous mix of sounds, with the howling of cows and boys, the bleats of sheep, and pep talks and one-upsmanships. Bulls snorted and slammed hard against the metal gates separating chutes as riders rosined their gloves, sounding sticky slaps of leather. Dust rose into the air and men spat soupy tobacco to the dirt floor. There was an eternity of preparation for an 8-second–or often much shorter–ride. In the stands, devotees kept careful track of scores as boys sprinted past with popcorn, oversized sodas, and hot dogs. On the arena floor below, bullfighters dressed like clowns with painted faces and oversized pants kept watch as riders leapt from the chutes on the backs of bulls.

Before the big event, kids practice on oil-barrel bulls, mechanical bulls, and the livestock that grazes in nearby pastures. They learn to ride in home-made rodeo arenas, where older generations of riders impart wisdom to make rough rides a little less so. Before every go of it—a prayer. The signs of the region became familiar to me: crosses, John Wayne and cowboy-themed everything. At night, the serenade of cicadas.