Last fall, Lee Alban took a trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Although he and his family had traveled through the Tetons back in the 1970s and had explored some of the National Parks out West in the early 1990s, he hadn’t yet been to Jackson Hole. The purpose of the trip was to participate in the National Oil and Acrylics Painters Society’s Best of America exhibition.
It was Alban’s first trip to Jackson Hole, and he was eager to see the city and gather photographic reference materials he could use in future works. But it wasn’t just the quintessential beauty of the area that he wanted to capture in his photos.
“Instead of taking the classic shot of the Tetons reflected in the lake, I was down by the stream thinking about where riders on horseback might be crossing over,” Alban says. “I was climbing around on the fallen logs, looking for scenes that most other people aren’t there to see. I’m looking for something different now.” He is now shooting with the eye of an artist who integrates people—cowboys, cowgirls, and Native Americans—into Western landscapes.
How the West Was Won
16” by 20”
“The location of this prairie cabin was Old Bedford Village in Pennsylvania. The title of this narrative painting suggests that it wasn’t trappers, gunfighters, or soldiers who ‘won the west.’ It was the tenacious settlers who braved the dangers and kept coming.”
We Do Not Own the Freshness of The Air or The Sparkle of The Water
24” by 36”
“I added a trompe l’oeil painting of an Edward Curtis photograph from 1926 to my landscape to create this homage to the American Indian. Symbolically, I am returning him to the land that he once occupied. It is part of a series that I call Spirits of the American West. Each title is from a Native American saying.”