Donate and receive a print for $125 in the USA, or $150 outside the USA! See below for details.
Danny Wilcox Frazier writes: "I have photographed at the Neumann Ranch in the badlands of South Dakota since 2008. There have been many ups and downs on the ranch during that time; the most painful low point was when John Neumann took his life in 2019. Tragedy struck again when the trailer so many called home burnt to the ground during this March's extreme cold. Stetson, John's son, was carried out by his mother Tabatha as flames engulfed the trailer. Their home and possessions were gone, and they had no insurance to replace anything. The sale of horses just weeks before the fire allowed Tabatha to buy a replacement trailer, and an army of family and friends moved their new home onto the ranch. The problem is that that money was supposed to buy hay for Stetson's cattle as well as pay for much-needed equipment and to cover ranch expenses.
"Over the years I have made thousands of photographs on the Neumann Ranch. Let's put those photographs to work and bring some much needed financial help to Stetson, Tabatha, and Clay. Tabatha and I selected five photographs for the fundraiser while VII's CEO and my dear friend, Gary Knight, donated a print as well. Stetson, Tabatha, Gary, and I thank you for supporting a family in need!"
To raise money to help with running expenses of Neumann Ranch, we're offering a choice of prints to donors. These are 8.5in x 11in archival inkjet prints on Hahnemühle Photo Rag Pearl, and each is signed on the back.
Donate up to $125, you have our utmost gratitude.
Donate $125 in the USA, and receive a print of your choice. Twenty-five dollars goes toward printing, shipping and handling, and $100 goes to Neumann Ranch.
Donate $150 from outside of the USA, and receive a print of your choice.Fifty dollars goes toward printing, shipping and handling, and $100 goes to Neumann Ranch.
Please reply to the email confirming your donation to specify your choice of print (1-6, they're labelled above) and your shipping address. The first 5 prints are by Danny Wilcox Frazier and number 6 is by Gary Knight.
More about Danny Wilcox Frazier and his friendship with John Neumann and family...
I drove up to the Neumann Ranch after getting lost while on my way to Cactus Flat (population 12 in 2008). I drove past a Minuteman Ballistic Missile historic site and ended up on what Julie Long, John Neumann’s girlfriend, described as a “broke down horse and cattle ranch.” John and Julie took me in, years later joking over dinner that if they knew I meant it when I asked to move in, well, maybe the answer would have been different. This photograph, the most well-known from my work on the Great Plains, is something John was proud of. It was recognition that his life, with all the rusty edges, broken bumpers, and pain was also beautiful. It wasn’t all polished up like a big city, but as he once told me, “We might be poor, but we still have fun.”
John took his life on June 9th, 2019. He left behind a 6-month-old son, Stetson, and longtime girlfriend, Tabatha Swartz, as well as many loved ones and friends. Tabatha continues to raise their son on the Neumann Ranch, fighting to maintain the operation for when Stetson takes over–John’s dream for his son.
Suicide is personal for me, a part of my life since I was a teenager. While trying to understand John’s death is a heartbreaking daily reality for Tabatha and all those who love John, there is a piece of this that must be spoken. John suffered from ankylosing spondylitis, a chronic inflammatory disease where the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy joints. “John was always hurting because of his joints,” says Tabatha. John and Tabatha tried to get John to specialists that could help, but the waitlist was a year long at the (one) doctor in their region. John was spending $600 a month for insurance so he could receive medical care that was then 12 months out of reach. “It was very physically painful for John and he had tried different ways to control the pain, but we weren’t rich. John was just waiting, just waiting all the time and he was tired of it,” Tabatha says. “There was no access to the care John needed. Maybe down the road (there would have been), but John didn’t wait long enough.”
Rural America is seeing a dramatic rise in suicides. Studies show the rate of suicide in rural counties is 25 percent higher than major metropolitan areas. Since 2000, the overall rate in the United States saw a 41 percent rise in suicide among people ages 25 to 64. Factors pushing the increase in rural communities include poverty, low income and underemployment, isolation, neglect, lack of access to mental healthcare, and the stigma that mental health treatment has in rural culture.
In the remote communities surrounding the badlands of South Dakota which includes the Neumann Ranch, access to healthcare and the money to pay for it are real barriers. The system failed John. “It was all about pain for the most part, physical and mental,” says Tabatha. “John’s body hurt so much he didn’t want to be here.”