“Isn’t it the purpose, the statement, the overall message of Naked Cowboy that faith in oneself and their dreams is absolutely enough? That the unstoppable will of the human spirit with an unquestioned objective is truly unstoppable? Isn’t that who I am? Naked Cowboy? The determined man on a mission who persists knowing that he is truly unstoppable, despite any odds or criticisms.”
Ever since the birth of the Naked Cowboy 19 years ago, Robert Burck has made journaling a daily ritual. With hundreds of journals already filled, he continues to spend hours a day writing, with the belief that “we become what we think about consistently.”
Meeting Burck was one of the more unexpected events in my life. In 2013, I found myself in Times Square, my least favorite place in New York, after a photo editor I had just met spontaneously asked me to find a story there. As I exited an office onto Seventh Avenue, the Naked Cowboy caught my eye. He wasn’t strumming his guitar or slinging women over his shoulder, just walking casually down the street looking like he was done for the day.
I followed him into a parking garage where I introduced myself as a photographer in search of a good story. A few hours later, I was at a private boat party with Burck and his wife, Patty, the Naked Cowgirl. Since that day, I have visited his parents in Cincinnati twice, gotten to know his entire family, followed him into Times Square during a blizzard and into one too many random bathrooms throughout the city.