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Coal-plant workers facing an uncertain future, biologists chasing mule-deer migrations, cowboys performing age-old branding rituals and communities grappling with the inexorable change of shifting economies.
Wyoming in 2019 was the scene of painful transitions, long-held traditions, moments of wonder and crucial conversations about what’s next for the state. WyoFile and its contributors were there to capture these stories in images.
There were big events, like the unveiling of the new Capitol and the news that a large coal company declared bankruptcy, sending miners home.
But there were also the small moments — a scene of triumph during a small-town parade, a conservation hero reflecting on his work, an outdoor lover enjoying Wyoming’s wild landscapes.
Together, these images portray a state of immense beauty and resilient individuals, where disparate lives are woven together around a shared love for the one-of-a-kind character of Wyoming.
WyoFile’s 2019 in photography:
In January, the Unit 3 coal grinder at the Naughton Power Plant near Kemmerer shut down. WyoFile photographer Angus M. Thuermer, Jr. shot scenes in the unit before it shuttered.
The University of Wyoming apologized in September to 14 black athletes cut from the football team 50 years ago for wearing black armbands in protest of a racist Mormon church policy. Laramie-based photographer Mike Vanata shot portraits of seven of the players during their Laramie visit for his Faces of Wyoming project.
A scene from a cattle branding on the Bighorn River.
An image from photographer Sara Wiles’ 2019 book, “The Arapaho Way.”
Jackson filmmaker and climber Jimmy Chin, who with his wife Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi made the Oscar-winning documentary “Free Solo,” received the Murie Spirit of Conservation Award in August from the Teton Science Schools and Murie Center.
A group of women scientists and adventurers traced the burly path of one tough deer in the film “Deer 139.”
For WyoFile’s special “Powering Down” issue, reporters Angus M. Thuermer, Jr. and Andrew Graham visited the Jim Bridger Plant in southwest Wyoming.
A hometown favorite at Wyoming’s most low-key music festival.
A portrait from Lindsay Linton Buk’s “Women in Wyoming” project.
The Old West Days parade in Jackson became more colorful this year with a first-ever pride contingent.
Rock Springs at night.
Lander’s Second Street Farm joined a long tradition of Wyoming poultry farming when it raised a rafter of turkeys for Thanksgiving tables.
A bar in tiny Superior, Wyoming.
Drilling in the Moneta Divide field has been ongoing since the 1960s. Aethon Energy and Burlington Resources seek to expand the field, a proposal that would entail pouring up to 8.27 million gallons of tainted “produced water” onto the already affected landscape every day.
A remnant of rail history awaits renovation.
Visitors tour the newly unveiled Capitol building.
Surveying a mountain of coal at the Naughton Plant.