For the series Niemi headed into the Utah desert alone, accompanied only her her rental car to fully embrace her character’s narrative. She visited the spots that her cowboy would frequent, hiked up mountains in national parks and even rode a horse on the same field that John Wayne filmed one of his famous cinema battles, all the while inhabiting the fearlessness that drives her character, even if this didn’t come naturally to the photographer underneath the exterior. But it was exactly this that in the end added another layer to the story – life imitated art as the women at the forefront confronted her own doubts.
“I have to admit that coming up to this trip I was nervous, the thought of driving alone for weeks through Utah really scared me. Being from Norway, this was very foreign territory for me. Also I had no idea how I was going to pull off being dressed as a cowboy in public. In real life I am not one who likes to draw attention to myself. Standing there alone at the national parks in full cowboy costume, I thought, ‘This is for you cowboy’, … or for whomever is out there, wishing they could walk out the door in whatever they desire! I have never been brave. I have so many fears, people, heights, horses, open spaces, crowded spaces, even driving makes me nervous. Did I reclaim it? Maybe a little for myself. It definitely felt good.”