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Author Archives: Brett L. Erickson

About Brett L. Erickson

Brett L. Erickson is an interpretive documentary photographer specializing in making images of the Great Plains and American West, and his award-winning photographs have been featured in numerous solo and group shows throughout the United States. A collaboration with National Geographic photographer Sam Abell, Brett's most recent project and its accompanying book, "PlainSky, Nebraskans," focused on the interrelationship between the people, landscapes and structures of western Nebraska. Brett has taught photography, photojournalism, online design and mass media at Hastings College since 2003. As a professional journalist and photographer, he contributed for a large variety of media, including Oregon and Nebraska newspapers, National Public Radio, American Public Media, and Nebraska Educational Telecommunications. He formerly served as the freelance Central Nebraska Bureau Chief for NET Radio (Nebraska Public Radio). Erickson earned his Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts from Hastings College in 1995, a Master of Arts in Teaching from Hastings College in 1999, and a Master of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, one of the nation’s top 12 journalism master’s programs, in 2009. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Caroline Soske Brown

A few weeks ago, blogger zzzlauna commented on Brett Erickson’s image of the Montrose, Neb., cemetery:

“Thanks for your pic Montrose Catholic Church, Sioux County, Nebraska. My ggg-grandmother is buried in the cemetery there. I’m a genealogist and handicapped. I will never make it there but I am soooo glad to see your picture–a hauntingly beautiful piece of an era just about gone.”

It so happened that the Images of the West project was about to make another trip to Montrose, and after making several images of the church and cemetery, Brett sought out the grave of Caroline Soske Brown, zzzlauna’s great-great-great grandmother. He found it in the northeast corner of the cemetery.

Brown was born August 15, 1849; she died one day short of her 44th birthday on August 14, 1893. She should have lived much longer, seen the new century, and enjoyed a fruitful–if hard–life on the Nebraska frontier.

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Posted by on June 22, 2012 in Sioux County, Nebraska

 

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Branding, Lusker Ranch, Wyoming

A fact of life in northwest Nebraska is that Wyoming isn’t far from daily life; in fact, Nebraskan Eric Meidell and his family manage cattle in both states every week. In late May, Liz McCue and Brett Erickson were fortunate to shoot a branding at the Lusker Ranch property, one of the ranches the Meidells handle, which is northwest of Lusk, Wyoming.

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2012 in Ranching

 

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Branding at the Kreman and Mansfield Ranches

The Images of the West program would never work without the eager help and cordial nature of families like those of Dave and Mary Jane Kreman, and Kelly Mansfield. On May 5, Liz McCue, Becca Dickinson and Brett Erickson attended the yearly branding at the Klemer and Mansfield ranches, and shot nearly 2,000 photographs. Featured below are ten of Brett’s. For more of Brett’s images, please see his blog.

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2012 in Ranching

 

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Dinner with a legend: Sam Abell, Liz McCue and Ethan Richardson

Sam Abell and students Liz McCue and Ethan Richardson

Sam Abell and students Liz McCue and Ethan Richardson

Every so often in someone’s life, he or she has an “I’ll never forget this” moment.  For the students in this year’s Images of the West course, that moment lasted five days.  My mentor–both through images and tutoring–Sam Abell, the legendary National Geographic master photographer, journeyed with us to northwest Nebraska.  On the way home, we stopped at Huckleberry’s in Broken Bow, Nebraska, for a final meal together.  This image captures one of those last, warm conversations as students Liz McCue and Ethan Richardson bask in their own “I’ll never forget this.”

As a side note, Sam recognized Liz’s potential as a budding professional, and that is evidenced in this image; after all, most photographers I know eat with their cameras, too.

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2012 in The Sand Hills

 

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Train, Near Mullen, Nebraska

Train, Near Mullen, Nebraska

Travelers in Nebraska’s Sand Hills often have only trains as their companions on Highway 2.  A train speeds through the late evening hours near Mullen, Nebraska.

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2012 in The Sand Hills

 

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Lakeside, Box Butte County

Lakeside, Box Butte County

Trains permeate, and therefore define, the Nebraska Sand Hills.  A train speeds eastward with a load of coal mined in Gillette, Wyoming.

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2012 in The Sand Hills

 

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Semroska Ranch, Harrison

Semroska Ranch, Harrison

The utility shed at Ray Semroska’s son’s homestead near Harrison reflects the mentality of the ranching life in northwestern Nebraska: perseverance.

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2012 in The Semroska Ranch

 

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