Texas

photo credit: Justin Blandford
photo credit: Justin Blandford

“The wonders of digital photography have told me that this picture was taken on July 7th, 2008. That data has stayed buried and encoded in that picture since I exposed a digital frame of film on that day, and since it has moved to and inhabited several devices and computers since that date.

The person is my cousin, Andre, and he is cutting the letters ‘SB’ and an upside down cross into a mirror next to the words ‘HATE FUCK’ which my roommate, John, had cut into that mirror. A mirror that is where the seat should be on a the corner section of a sectional sofa. On July 7th I had just returned from trip to New York, and I had moved into a new apartment the day before I left for that trip. A coworker was about to move out of state and was unloading large items. He told me he had a sectional couch to give me. My roommate and I agreed to pick it up, and we were super bummed at it on sight; not wanting to insult my coworker we took it, and it went straight to our curb. It was remarked to have looked like ‘what Prince would have used for beach furniture in the 80’s.’

I’ve always loved everything about this shot. I love the composition, all the lines that run out of frame, the shapes that creep or slam in from the corners. The power line reflected on the mirror above Andre’s head is almost perpendicular or parallel to the edges of the frame, and it’s the only line that comes close. Closer than it looks at a glance. For a shot with a mirror in the center, there is perhaps no symmetry.

On a personal level. I love Andre’s expression of devious satisfaction. SB was a ‘bicycle gang’ that was a huge part of our social lives at the time. My cousin has been a key figure in my life for a long time. A close friend and someone who I can always count on. A guy who cracks me up, and know everything about me, and vice versa. So many little details in this picture are historical markers about Andre’s, John’s, and my life. It’s a nice artifact that I find myself referencing on occasion and I hope to always be able to look at it when I’d like.” – Justin Blandford

Click for another random image.

Header image: map of Northeast Houston in 1922, courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin.

Texas

photo credit: Holt Harlan
photo credit: Holt Harlan

“This is me with my husband and two dear friends, bike-packing through a very special landscape: the desert of far West Texas, in Big Bend Ranch State Park. These concepts – friends, adventures, bikes and beloved spaces – combine to represent home, which is synonymous with Texas.” – Julia Jenkins

Click for another random image.

Header image: map of Northeast Houston in 1922, courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin.

Texas

photo credit: Jimmy
photo credit: Jimmy

“I grew up dressing like normal kid most of the time. But by age 4 (I’m 3 or 4 in this photo) I was riding horses, helping with chores and shooting a .22 rifle with my Dad’s close supervision on a small ranch he worked on the weekends near Copperas Cove, TX… Esther’s Chaparral Ranch. I never had a security blanket or teddy bear, but I was inseparable from the straw hat in the photo. I wore it all the time. My white and adoptive cowboy Dad thought that was just fine. However, my biological and very Korean mother who lived with my adoptive parents and me could not stand that beat up, dirty hat. The day came when she’d had enough of her Korean son dressing like a ‘country boy.’ My straw hat was defenseless with my Dad at work. One afternoon he came home to find me in tears, inconsolable. My mother had thrown my hat in the trash. It was trash day and the garbage truck had come and gone. My father was angry and yelled at her like I’d never before witnessed. It didn’t make me feel better. I’d checked the steel trash can in the front yard myself. I knew it was gone.” – Jimmy

Click for another random image.

Header image: map of Northeast Houston in 1922, courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin.