The 193 photos selected here are organized into thematic sections such as Landscapes, Violence and Religion, and Darkness. They are significant not just for the range of subjects, but for the inclusion of a variety of examples of the evolving photographic technology from the 1880s to the present. This book is an unprecedented portrait of both photographic history and the history of Texas, as well as a record of one unique family."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-10-17
- Reviewer: Staff
This intimate and revealing photo collection is unusual in its premise: the photoswhich date back to the 1880s and cover a variety of subjectswere taken by four generations of Texan photographers all named Byrd Moore Williams. Culled from more than 10,000 images housed in the Byrd Williams Collection at the University of North Texas, this selection, chosen by the fourth and final Williams photographer (aka Byrd IV), documents the cultural landscape of Texas over the years through the photographic lenses and evolving interests of four members of the same family. The photographs capture the world as it wasthe crowded interior of a general store in Gainesvilles, Tex., circa 1885; elementary school boys performing in blackface for a school play. Williams marvels that such a diverse archive has survived more or less intact for 120-plus years, provides insightful context about several featured photographs, and reflects on the permanent nature of photography. Some of the photos are mundane, such as snapshots of the Alamo taken at the same angle in 1890, 1947, and 1970; others are much more provocative, particularly three images depict Williamss twin sister, Pam, at critical stages of her life, including death. This eclectic grouping of photographs is deeply rooted in Texas history yet still resonant for outside admirers of photography. Photos. (Nov.)