Barbara van cleve's american west


‘Barbara Van Cleve’s American West’ illuminates the history, life, and land in the American West through personal accounts of generations within the Van Cleve family. Barbara Van Cleve has spent her life documenting the beauty of the West through a camera lens. This film allows her the opportunity to express the raw experience of ranch life in words. Her story offers an unrepeatable view of the American West that she has lived and captured for decades. CR Matty Films is working alongside Barbara to paint a detailed picture of the West. We hope to achieve this through narrative, photography, and never before seen historical footage of ranch life in Montana. 

Van Cleve Family

The Van Cleve family has a rich history in Montana, dating back to 1880, when the family settled on the Eastern slopes of the Crazy Mountains. Throughout the past century, the Van Cleves’ have witnessed numerous changes in the landscapes and lifestyles of the West. As a result, they have accumulated a library of stories passed down through generations. The Van Cleves’ story of expansion in Montana intertwines with the history of the West, painting a unique picture of Western life in the past and present.

Barbara's Upbringing

Barbara was raised on the Lazy K Bar guest ranch that her grandparents built in the early 1920s. Growing up on a guest ranch meant Barbara participated in all the ranching activities and interacted with guests as a young girl. She loved the Western lifestyle; she thrived taking guests out on horseback rides, cooking them meals, and entertaining them during their stay. But, it wasn’t the lifestyle alone that Barbara adored; she had a deep appreciation and fascination with the land and its natural beauty. Her entire identity has been shaped by the open land and the lifestyle it provides.

Barbara's Career

 Barbara has a deep connection to the land and the lifestyle she grew up with, so it comes as no surprise that she dedicates her life to capturing its raw beauty. When she was just eleven years old, she received her first camera, a ‘Brownie Junior’ for her birthday. Since then, she has made a name for herself by capturing the grit, beauty, and camaraderie of Western ranch life in her photography. She strives to create photographs that allow viewers to see the Western lifestyle and landscapes through her eyes, primarily on horseback.

For more information on Barbara Van Cleve’s American West, visit our website or click the link below.

To explore a gallery of Barbara’s incredible photography, click here.

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