Born in 1955, in Belton, Texas, M.L.Bolton and his brother Wayne were raised around cattle, horses, and working dogs. Under the guidance of their father, Boots Bolton, the brothers grew up riding and training both personal horses and outside horses for clients. With this as a backdrop, M.L.Bolton learned at an early age how to read and handle horses and cattle. He also learned the lessons of honesty and respect, not only for the animals, but also for the hard-working men and women in the ranching community. At the age of seven, he began roping calves and competing in junior rodeos. During his teen years, he continued to compete in timed events such as calf roping, team roping, and steer wrestling in high school and professional rodeos throughout Texas.
During most of M.L.Bolton’s adult life, he has been involved in the art and science of photography. He has pursued the magic of the light and the lens through extreme hard work, determination, and continuous education. All in an effort to constantly improve his technical skills both from behind the lens and in post production and printing processes. He transitioned through photography mediums from film cameras to his present day work in digital photography. In 1990, he established his commercial photography, audio, and videography production studio, Valley Arts Studio in Belton, Texas.
He is a member of the Texas Professional Photographers Association, Texas Photographical Society, The Kodak Professionals, The Nikionians, The Working Ranch Cowboys Association, and the National Ranching Heritage Association. His photography has appeared in "Texas Highways Magazine", "Dally Times", "The Cattleman Magazine", "The Quarter Horse News Magazine", "Working Ranch Magazine", and numerous commercial presentations and portfolios. His photography work is held by both public and private collectors. Although his body of photography work has spanned from the sweeping landscapes and vistas of Alaska and the Grand Canyon to carefully crafted still life images and portraiture, he now exclusively photographs working ranch cowboys.
Traveling thousands of miles each year, in his pickup truck and cab over camper/photography lab, he takes thousands of photographs of cowboys and their families on large, historic working cattle ranches throughout the American west. Photography under these unpredictable conditions is challenging and hard work, as he works in the same, sometimes difficult, environments that the cowboys face each day. Approximately thirty to forty percent of his images are taken from the back of a horse, which adds another degree of difficulty to the photography. However, it allows him to ride beside the cowboys from daylight until dark, far from roads and working pens, and thereby capture images of their daily lives, their work, their traditions, and their character.