Whenever possible, Milwaukee-based commercial photographer John Sibilski and his wife celebrate their kids’ birthdays with an experience instead of material objects. This past June, a present for his son’s eleventh birthday turned out to be quite the present for John as well. Claiming to be “where legends begin,” the Little Britches Rodeo puts on events throughout the year, encouraging sportsmanship in young people through the unique sport of rodeo. John and his family headed north to see it as a birthday present, and between this and another circuit, John came away with quite the story.
John loved the realistic feel of the project:
My favorite part of the project was just the reality of it. I had no control of what was happening – It had everything to do with being a witness to something, and being able to see the kids while they were in their moment. Shooting something like this is very interesting. You could send 50 photographers out to tell this story, and you would get 50 very different versions. I am really happy with my version.
Although he was originally happy with the images, it wasn’t until John made large inkjet prints for his portfolio that he realized the true value of the series. This led to an uncoated promo piece featuring the kids’ faces up close and personal. The work was printed on Cougar Paper and received a lot of positive feedback.