Car wrecks ridden by flying bullets, exploded barrels, plants that have been torched to ashes and firearm enthusiasts are the main subjects in the most recent project by Jean-François Bouchard (b. 1968, Canada). In Guns We Trust is set in The Big Sandy in the western desert of Arizona, the largest privately-owned shooting range in the United States of America.
Bouchard travelled from shooting range to shooting range across the US for seven years, but he only started taking photographs around two or three years ago. Shooting ranges host a handful of events each year, which all attract thousands of participants. The participants see shooting as a hobby, but also as a way of life. As a liberal thinker, Bouchard found himself having a hard time merging with this far-right extreme culture, which is why it took him several years to get sufficiently acquainted with the subject and publish a project about it.
In Guns We Trust aims to look at gun culture from a different perspective. Currently there is a stigma that revolves around the culture, one that involves a far-right ideology and functions as the starting point for multiple shooting incidents in the US. While this may indeed be a side of gun culture, Bouchard shows a side we rarely see in the media, one where family and recreational time depend solely on pulling the trigger. Bouchard does so by showing a series of hauntingly beautiful images of the shooting range under the stars. Lights shine through the bullet holes, stars illuminate the desert, and families are bonding over hitting the targets while leaving nothing but physical destruction behind.