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A perfect shot: Photos of women with guns explode stereotypes

Lindsay McCrum’s book “Chicks with Guns” explores issues of self-image through photographs that are both beautiful and unexpected.

 / Updated 10 PHOTOS

‘A very special world’

Lindsay McCrum’s book “Chicks with Guns” explores issues of self-image and gender through photographs that are both beautiful and unexpected. Here are images and caption excerpts from the book.

Ridgeland, S.C.
Boss 20-gauge side-by-side

“Hunting and shooting are the foundations of a complete and very special world ... Once you’ve held the work of art that is a best-grade London side-by-side in your hands – especially if made in the 1930s (the golden age of English gun making) – you will never forget that miracle of balance and weight. It seems so natural to swing and hit the bird that you’re endlessly surprised when you miss.”

Lindsay Mccrum
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‘I can do this’

Loomis, Calif.
.44 Magnum Ruger Super Redhawk double-action revolver

“I got a BB gun when I was 6 years old and practiced shooting at old cans and such. I got my first .22-caliber rifle, which I still have, when I was 10, and I still have that very first paper target from the shooting range ... I was a police officer for five years ... When I was in the academy, the shooting instructor knew immediately that I had been shooting before ... I think they were really impressed that I could shoot. I thought, ‘You know? I’ll show these guys I can do this.’”

Lindsay McCrum
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‘Hunting doesn’t mean killing’

Emigrant, Mont.
Browning .270 with a Leupold scope and handmade sling

“My husband bought [my favorite gun] for me. It was so nice of him to do such a nice thing for me ... Hunting is very important to me for many reasons. Hunting doesn’t mean killing – it’s about the amazing experiences that you almost always have when you are out in nature. Hunting is what you make it; and for me being out seeing what Mother Nature has to offer and sharing these experiences with my kids is so special and important. I wouldn’t want them to learn it from anyone else.”

Lindsay McCrum
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The old West

Watsonville, Calif.
Pair of Ruger Vaqueros .45 Long Colt

This striking portrait of Belinda appears at the very beginning of Lindsay McCrum’s book “Chicks with Guns.” It is one of the few portraits in the book that doesn’t have an accompanying caption written by the photograph subject. “This whole project really evolved and took on a life of its own because of the enthusiasm and the excitement of the women themselves,” McCrum said in an interview. “I found everyone in this book by word of mouth.”

Lindsay McCrum
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Addicted to adventure

Houston, Texas
Sako .308 bolt-action rifle with scope

“I think my philosophy of hunting has always been about the adventure itself. During the years we’ve been married, my husband Oscar and I have been on some amazing hunts. At the North Pole we stayed in an ice house built by our guides, ice brick by ice brick, before our very eyes. ... We’ve hunted from our log cabins in Colorado and Utah, and we’ve also hunted in Georgia and of course Texas. Once in 1982 on an African safari I tracked a lion for 10 and a half hours. It was exhilarating! I love the juxtaposition of stalking game one day and then dressing for a glamorous evening the next.”

Lindsay McCrum
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‘Life is to be revered’

St. Paul, Minn.
Glock .40-caliber and Remington 11-81 Police Model

“I was pushing middle age the first time I held a gun. I wasn’t raised around hunters and the only other cop in my family history was my great-great-grandfather. He was a cop in New York City and I imagine he carried nothing but a nightstick ... [Today] I am a practiced shooter, and I enjoy the drills at our monthly qualifications ... The type of gun I carry has no bearing on the respect I maintain for all weaponry. It is life that is to be revered, and I have sworn to protect it.”

Lindsay McCrum
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‘A lifetime love of the outdoors’

Monte Sereno, Calif.
Freedom Arms .454 Casull

“My father was a subsistence hunter. Every year he harvested a deer and butchered it himself. We stored it in the freezer and consumed it throughout the winter. When I was first dating my husband, he invited me to go dove hunting. I was so flattered that he had asked me to join him on his hunt that I said yes. That was the beginning of a lifetime love of the outdoors and hunting. My husband and I have been hunting for 35 years.”

Lindsay McCrum
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‘Integral part of ranch life’

Armstrong, Texas
Parker 20-gauge side-by-side

“I grew up on a cattle ranch in South Texas, where shooting was a part of daily life and hunting traditions abounded. My late father taught his five children to shoot shotguns, rifles, and pistols before we were 10. We were also instructed in gun safety and how to field-dress and clean all game we shot. Shooting is still an integral part of our ranch life and work. Most of our entertaining at the ranch revolves around shooting and hunting.”

Lindsay McCrum
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‘The magnificence of it all’

Alexandra and Truett
Houston, Texas
Ithaca 20-gauge side-by-side

“Guns, like everything in my childhood home, were considered treasures and works of art ... My parents taught me to appreciate the art of the hunt, the serenity of the outdoors, and the magnificence of it all. I now have two sons, Thomson, 5, and Truett, 3 years old. The bundled energy and palpable excitement in their eyes as they watch us pack the car with hunting gear is intoxicating! This book actually made me realize that the guns my father gave me when I was married will one day pass to my sons.”

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Trained from infancy

Napa Valley, Calif.
English Forsyth system scent bottle pistol, ca. 1820

“I was only 7 or 8 months old when I received my first gun, a gift from a longtime friend of my parents ... For my seventh birthday, my father gave me my first BB gun ... I studied hard with my dad’s help and completed the hunter’s safety course at the California Department of Fish and Game so I could receive a lifetime hunting license. I was so proud when the certificate arrived in the mail three weeks before my 10th birthday!”

The Vendome Press
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