History of the Cowgirls Photos

In 1987 John Thomas was teaching painting and design at Fort Lewis College and painting cowboys whose pictures he got from old photos and etchings from the 1890's. But he was unsatisfied. He wanted cow-GIRLS. But there were very few pictures of cowgirls.  

So he got together with then KDUR station-manager Tami Graham, who was living in an old cabin near Durango to gather together girls to dress up as cowgirls and take their pictures for his paintings. He got vintage clothing from Elizabeth, who  owned Through The Lens, a photo shop on Main in Durango where you could have your picture taken dressed up as old time American west  characters. Clothes were also provided by the Durango Ralph Lauren Polo store and hats by O'Ferrell's Hat Company.

While printing the pictures in his studio he heard the lines (in his head) to the first song that over the years became the Cowgirl opera.