Picks and Pans Review: Vanishing Breed

updated 03/07/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/07/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

by William Albert Allard

Allard, 45, is a writer-photographer who was born in Minneapolis and lives in Virginia but, like many American men, has always been fascinated by the legend of the cowboy. This interest has led him to photograph modern cowboys all over the West while on assignment for various magazines. His color pictures, taken from 1966 to 1979, illustrate this striking book. The more Allard tries in his text to dispel romantic notions about the cowboy's life, the more his photographs revive them, with sweeping vistas full of freedom and promise, dusty and gritty scenes that made grueling work seem noble, and, mostly, the cowboy faces—old ones lined with satisfying fatigue and years in the sun, young ones smooth and full of expectation. Allard's prose is on the cryptic side, not nearly as expressive as his photographs or the foreword by novelist Thomas McGuane, who salutes Allard, the book and the cowboy for confirming "that transsubstantial belief that one has been preceded by men in whom the sense of glory was not entirely diminished." (New York Graphic Society-Little, Brown, $34.95)

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