When I compose an image, I like to imagine that the viewer is looking right over my shoulder,” says Texas Highways Photography Editor Griff Smith. “The picture has to tell the story on its own merit, without a caption.” The images shown on these pages, from Griff Smith’s Texas, an exhibit that opens March 5 at Sam Houston Memorial Museum in Huntsville, could well serve as a visual collection of short stories about the people and places of Texas.
Griff documents the state in the pages of this magazine and has done so since 1984, traveling from Alpine to Zephyr, and shooting such varied topics as barbecue and B&Bs, artworks and state parks, and people of all sorts—from Byron Nelson to Willie Nelson.
From highly stylized portraits to more nuanced studies of landscapes, these photographs evoke empathy for the subject and create an emotional connection with the viewer. Whether it’s dramatic, cross-hatched shadows shading a seated Tigua woman, or the larger-than-life, comic-book-hero quality of a trick-roper in full action; the mysterious Monahans sand dunes at dusk or the clean graphic of a cowboy silhouetted against a giant neon Texas flag, Griff’s images reveal the state in its many incarnations and identities.
See related: Images from the exhibit's opening reception (Facebook)