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Laurence Butet-Roch March 23, 2015

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Canada.

Taken at the Beef Festival in Inverness, Quebec Canada 2014

Laurence Butet-Roch  (b.1985, Canada) is a freelance writer, photo editor and photographer. She was introduced to the media world through a Quebec tv show, “Scoop”, a fictitious foray into the dramas of a Montreal newsroom. After completing a B.A. in International Relations at the University of British Columbia, she pursued photography at the School of Photographic Arts: Ottawa. Upon graduating, she moved to France, where she started working as a photo editor and journalist for Polka Magazine. After four years, she chose to return to Canada and, while continuing her work for Polka, now contributes articles to other publications such as the British Journal of Photography, BlackFlash, Exposure, TIME Lightbox and the New York Times Lens blog. She is a member of the Boreal collective.

 About the Photograph:

“Every year, the village of Inverness, home to 850 people in Quebec, hosts the “beef festival”. Once an agricultural fair, where animals were bought and sold, it became a rodeo in the 80s as a way to earn money to help pay for local services. It is still the case today. Residents of the village staff the fair voluntarily and the proceeds raised go to maintaining the library, elder’s home and school. Few villages this size in the province can say they have similar amenities.”

“The fest draws over 30.000 visitors, who install their large RVs on private and public properties for a week. The second biggest rodeo in Quebec, it attracts cowboys of all ages from as far as the southwestern American states. Upon meeting them, I was struck by their dedication. Most have a day job – often related to the cattle industry – and spend all their free time training, caring for their mounts and competing. The costs, both financially and physically, are high and the rewards, few. ‘It’s not work, but it’s not a hobby either. It’s a passion’, says Jason, a farrier by trade. In this, as a photographer, I felt a deep connection with them. Most competitions – mutton, busting, bareback and saddle bronco riding, bull riding, calf roping and steer wrestling – are held in the evening. In the bucking chute, riders are focused, tense and dignified. Once in the arena, there’s little room for error.”