52 Chapters
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Violence and Religion in Texas

Byrd M. Williams IV University of North Texas Press ePub

Byrd IV, Christmas and birthday 1960

Growing up in Texas

Baudelaire is credited with coining the term modernity (modernité) to designate the fleeting, ephemeral experience of life in an urban metropolis, and the responsibility art has to capture that experience.

Texas is not unique to America in its unencumbered love of firearms and openly devotional mindset. The best I can tell, these cultural attributes are salient to any of the Southern states, at least in proportion to the Northeast and Northwest. The Byrd Williams archive is rife with photographic evidence of violence and religion throughout. I would be remiss not to address this aspect of our heritage.

Cultures evolve. My family was never very religious but we were armed to the teeth. I always loved cameras, but for the life of me I cannot remember why we had so many guns. I somehow lost that meme, maybe because our societal norms are shifting. My immediate ancestors were not particularly racist, violent, gender biased, homophobic, or fundamentalist about any ideology. By hobby and trade we were “observers” but close examination of the visual and written evidence indicates complicity in many of the above areas. I am chagrined about this. One could pass the buck and say, “Oh well, it was just the way it was in those days,” but my life of anthropological scrutiny prevents this. Photographing people carries with it a hint of exploitation. I offer myself for the same.

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People

Byrd M. Williams IV University of North Texas Press ePub

Title page to Byrd III photograph album

THE FACES THAT INHABIT ONE'S LIFE are also connected to a mutually shared experience, whether it is an insider that occupies the fabric of your reality or a transient in and out of your orbit like a waiter in a restaurant, never to be seen again.

All of the Byrd Williamses made portraits for a variety of reasons. Sometimes as a hired hand for vanity, sometimes for editorial information, but much of the time it was for nothing. For lack of a better term, it was for art.

Shortly after arriving in Gainesville, Texas, my great-grandfather set about photographing people he encountered. An untrained but enthusiastic amateur, his work included carefully executed records of local acquaintances, an endeavor common to the new “roll film” era photography was entering.

By 1885, Granddad had taken up the hobby and was encouraged by earning extra money shooting portraits of locals across the range of hamlets between Fort Worth and the Red River. Small communities within wagon distance of Gainesville that featured churches and the occasional town square such as Myra, Era, Muenster, Henrietta, Sanger, Bowie, and Whitesboro. Wherever he lived, my grandfather continued making two-dimensional replicas of people's faces for the rest of his life.

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1: Simplicity ~ Pristine Light

Henry Plummer Indiana University Press ePub

1

SIMPLICITY ~ PRISTINE LIGHT

White-Painted Woodwork Meetinghouse (1820) Pleasant Hill, Kentucky

MONOTONE MASS

The radical simplification produced by a single exterior color, characteristic of Shaker architecture, serves to unite each form, while accentuating the play of light over a surface, enveloping the whole in a subdued atmosphere. These monochromatic effects, free of either visual friction or excitement, range from the absolute purity of a white meetinghouse, to the monotone crust of stone or brick around a dwelling, or continuous coat of yellow paint on a workshop.

White Limestone Façade First West Family Dwelling (1811–12) Pleasant Hill, Kentucky

Yellow-Painted Volume Brethren's Shop (1810) Hancock, Massachusetts

PURE WHITE CAVITY

A spotless surface of smooth plaster and white paint serves to purify Shaker space. This image of perfection reveals the slightest sign of dirt, is devoid, one might even say absolved, of darkness, and is inherently ethereal, reduced to nothing but sheer light.

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17 Where Are the German PWs?

Malcolm L. Fleming Indiana University Press ePub

Huge PW enclosure. Some 2,600 are being held here. Their two meals a day come from a supply of regular German Army rations captured in a nearby warehouse.

On Leipzig-Frankfurt Autobahn—16 May ’45

GIs make civilian prisoners clear them a ballfield. The Germans and Poles were caught stealing cigarettes and other rations. MG had them locked up till this better use was found for their time.

Neuhaldensleben, Ger—21 May ’45

“MG” means Military Government.

German PWs sweep the street in front of the new 102 Inf Div CP. The modern building was a German Finanzamt or Fiscal Office.

Gotha, Ger—2 June ’45

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Texas Rivers and Tributaries

Ken W Kramer Texas A&M University Press ePub

I HAVE photographed the living waters of Texas for over twenty years, but at the beginning of my photography career I was more interested in places like the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and the mysterious slot canyons of southeastern Utah. I took pictures in Texas only when I stopped to rest during the long trips out west. But as the good images piled up, I found the streams and springs of my home state, from the West Fork of the Frio River or the wetlands of Aransas Wildlife Refuge to the Neches River bottomlands and the watery canyons of Big Bend Ranch State Park, to be the most extraordinary places of all. And I know there is much more to be found on private land, like a waterfall I have seen in deep East Texas that has never been photographed and doesn’t even have a name.

Yet just as Edward Curtis photographed the “vanishing Indians” one hundred years ago, I sense that I am photographing the vanishing waters of Texas. The Rio Grande in Big Bend is now more like the “Rio Poco,” the Middle Fork of the Pease River has dried up, and Jacob’s Well in the Hill Country stopped flowing for the first time in 2000. Larry McKinney, in his 1973 essay “Troubled Water,” states that “of the original 31 large springs (in Texas), only 17 remain. None of those springs stopped flowing because of natural causes.”

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The Rio Grande Fragile Lifeline in the Desert

Ken W Kramer Texas A&M University Press ePub

Mary E. Kelly

NEAR the ghost town of Candelaria, Texas, there is a small footbridge that crosses the Rio Grande. I’m standing in the middle of the bridge—which is less than fifty feet across and three feet wide—gazing at the sluggish brown stream below. The banks are choked by salt cedar, with only the occasional tenacious willow or cottonwood poking through. It’s brutally hot. Now and then, I glance back over my shoulder to make sure the Border Patrol hasn’t come around and wondered if the owner of the pickup truck parked on the Mexican side of the river is around.

The sun must be starting to take its toll. Is this really a part of the river that I have spent much of my career trying to understand and protect? There are thousands of miles of bigger, cleaner, more beautiful streams all over this state and country, none of them with the ridiculously complicated challenges facing the once mighty Rio Grande, or Rio Bravo del Norte, as it is known in Mexico. Why care about a river that can look this miserable?

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Springing to Life Keeping the Waters Flowing

Ken W Kramer Texas A&M University Press ePub

Dianne Wassenich

SPRINGS seem miraculous to me. Water pouring from the ground! The sight of it reminds me of the nature books I read as a child, like Gene Stratton-Porter’s Freckles and A Girl of the Limberlost and the fairy tales that told of spring water having magical properties.

Go stand on the lowest porch of the Texas Rivers Center in San Marcos and look at one of the springs that feed the San Marcos River flowing into Spring Lake. It is a strong flow, strong enough to ripple the surface in a rainy year when water is plentiful. But even in the dry years, when the sight may be different, I’m drawn again and again to this deep blue spring. I think of the countless people who have admired the flowing water at this spot, one of the oldest continually inhabited sites in North America.

Central Texas can be dry, with predictable droughtlike stretches in summer for at least a few hot months. Though the archeological records include longer and far worse drought periods, the local yardstick remains the great drought of the 1950s, when nearby Comal Springs stopped flowing and San Marcos Springs slowed to a trickle.

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12 People on the Move following Victory in Europe, May 7

Malcolm L. Fleming Indiana University Press ePub

Part of the lineup waiting to cross a narrow bridge. Traffic was one way at a time and very slow. The VE Day news is out, and many of these people are former slave laborers making a break for it.

Weissenfels, Ger—8 May ’45

Young German farm folk, looking a bit amused at the prospect of having their pic taken. They are stopped at a checking station at the end of town and an MP is investigating their wagonload behind for stowaways etc.

Sangershausen, Ger—11 May ’45

The CIC and Photo Units of 3d Armd. pause for a rest and ration stop on the autobahn to Frankfurt.

Between Sangerhausen and Frankfurt, Ger—12 May ’45

Presumably in VE Day glee, American fighters swarm playfully over Frankfurt.

Near Frankfurt, Ger—12 May ’45

Wreckage in the streets of Frankfurt am Maine. The nuns wearing packs and carrying suitcases appear to be on the move to some more habitable city or place of greater need.

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1 Battle for the Remagen Bridge across the Rhine River

Malcolm L. Fleming Indiana University Press ePub

Statue of Beethoven amid the ruins of his native city, Bonn. Official pictures of this by Sig C got quite a spread in US papers.

That’s T/3 Kitzero standing there, he’s an army photographer like me.

Less than a block from this statue was the photo shop basement where by match light I located the 40 rolls of size 127 film without which this would have been among the last photos for me.

Bonn, Ger—14 March ’45
Verichrome Film

I have chosen to write in the clipped style of my field notes. “Sig C” means Army Signal Corps.

Partially ruined cathedral of which I was to see many, later. The Germans found them too effective as OPs.

Bonn, Ger—14 March ’45

OPs are observation posts.

Unusual position for a Sherman Tank, but the tanker was hunting an unusual prey. The army, still jittery about the newly won Remagen Bridge, feared the enemy might destroy it by a one-man submarine or floating mines. So that’s what this tanker is looking for. Also searchlights were even used to watch the river by night.

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5 Advance through the Hartz Mountains

Malcolm L. Fleming Indiana University Press ePub

Removing road block of wrecked vehicles, ours & theirs.

Between Dorste & Osterode, Ger—12 April ’45

Eymo 35 mm

This is another frame of a 35 mm motion picture I filmed with an Army Eymo camera. It’s from a test strip I received back after processing.

Infantry and Armor move cautiously to clear road running by a lake in the Hartz Mts. Doughs smashing through the brush on either side flushed out several prisoners, and the captain leading the column on foot picked off a German on a motorbike with his pistol. That’s about all that happened till about 4 PM they approached a town. As we left them to get our film turned in the heavy weapons section was setting up to cover a platoon going in, tanks being in reserve. Most doughs were busy sleeping in the town next morning when we returned. Infantry were of the 18th Regt of 1st Div. Tankers were of the 745 Tank Bn.

Near Osterode, Ger—14 April ’45

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Photographs

Byrd M. Williams IV University of North Texas Press ePub

WALKING INTO THIS ARCHIVE is to walk among the dead. Many I knew and many I am just getting to know through their words and faces, but now I am one of the last remaining survivors in this Borgesian library of images. It was fiendishly comical when I noticed the irony of what has taken place: Middle class transubstantiation. Instead of bread and wine turning into the body and blood of Christ, four generations of my forebears’ bodies and blood have turned into paper and silver.

For me, photography is about death. It didn't used to be, but I'm sixty-four and everybody in the room is dead and I can't remember why I was so obsessed with saving their lives in two-dimensional facsimile. Perhaps all these years I have been trying to nail down what Ian McEwen refers to as our brief spark of consciousness.

It was never about the money; I could have done better mowing lawns. There was always this urgency about it: save all historic buildings, remember all the faces, stand on all the street corners, save everybody's toilet, share my experience with posterity, I was alive goddammit.

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Medium 9781574412154

Toxicological Myths

Photographs by Tammy Cromer-Campbell. Essays by Phyllis Glazer, Roy Flukinger, Eugene Hargrove, and Marvin Legator University of North Texas Press PDF

Toxicological Myths

Dr. Marvin Legator

In the never-ending battle to clean up our environment and make our world safer for humanity, individuals and organizations that profit from polluting the environment have developed a series of scenarios to obfuscate the human effects of exposure to toxic substances. The underlying assumption of toxic waste facilities, and frequently state and federal agencies, is that they know more about the technical aspects of toxicology than the victims of chemical exposure. This arrogance is often manifested in the unnecessary use of technical jargon and misleading or confusing factual information. Informed residents who are knowledgeable as to the adverse health effects of chemical exposure have repeatedly challenged the toxic waste facilities and frequently persevered in obtaining necessary remedial action. The informed citizens of Winona, Texas, are outstanding examples of how to fight for environmental justice and challenge the questionable assertions of the toxic waste facility as well as state and federal agencies. In 1997, moses (Mothers Organized to Stop Environmental Sins), under the leadership of one of our present-day environmental heroines, Phyllis Glazer, was instrumental in shutting down the major polluting facility in the community of Winona.

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4: Equality ~ Shared Light

Henry Plummer Indiana University Press ePub

4

EQUALITY ~ SHARED LIGHT

Transom over Dining Room Doors Church Family Dwelling House Hancock, Massachusetts

TRANSOM WINDOW

Transom windows, frequently placed by Shakers above inner as well as outer doors, provide a means to increase the light shared between neighboring rooms, and maintain this flow even when doors are fully closed. Interior transoms are typically set over doors connecting dark corridors and well-lit perimeter rooms, and take shapes ranging from multi-paned rectangles to arched or semicircular fanlights.

Fanlight between Kitchen and Dining Room Center Family Dwelling House Pleasant Hill, Kentucky

Arched Transom over Infirmary Door Center Family Dwelling House Pleasant Hill, Kentucky

INTERIOR WINDOW

The stretching of light, and the open feeling, afforded by an interior window are especially impressive when able to transform an utterly mundane space, such as a back stair or closet. An ingenious device to siphon daylight deeply into a building, this glazed opening serves also to share illumination between rooms demanding acoustic separation, so as to spread light in a peaceful way, free of disrupting noise.

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Fruit of the Orchard

Photographs by Tammy Cromer-Campbell. Essays by Phyllis Glazer, Roy Flukinger, Eugene Hargrove, and Marvin Legator University of North Texas Press PDF

Fruit of the Orchard tammy cromer-campbell

Tammy Cromer-Campbell

I begin this story with a profound dream that changed my life. In 1993, I dreamed I was protesting with a group of courageous people from Winona, Texas, in a grassy field.

Background

Winona is a rural Texas community of 500 people living downwind of a toxic-waste injectionwell facility built in 1982. Photographs of these residents reveal the tragic results many believe are associated with toxic emissions and contaminants from the American Ecology

Environmental Services toxic-waste facility (formerly known as Gibraltar). The community was originally told that Gibraltar would install a salt-water injection-well facility and plant fruit orchards on the remaining land. Instead, trucks and trains from all over the U.S. and

Mexico came to Winona to dump toxic waste into the open-ended wells. No fruit orchards were ever planted. It was not until 1992, when the residents began to fear the long-term effects of the various emissions and odors emanating from the facility, that Phyllis Glazer formed Mothers Organized to Stop Environmental Sins (moses). In March 1997, the facility announced its shutdown, citing continued opposition by moses as the reason.

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3: Luminosity ~ Inner Light

Henry Plummer Indiana University Press ePub

3

LUMINOSITY ~ INNER LIGHT

Corner of Attic Center Family Dwelling House South Union, Kentucky

MAXIMUM FENESTRATION

In their efforts to squeeze as much daylight as possible into buildings, Shakers pierced the outer walls with closely spaced windows, allowing illumination to stream in from every side. As the most sacred place in the Shaker settlement, and the nearest thing to heaven on earth, the meetinghouse was made especially airy and bright by a continuous band of repeating windows. But rendered almost as porous, and at times cathedral-like, were utilitarian buildings such as laundries and machine shops, tanneries and poultry houses, mills and barns.

Circles of Windows on Tree Different Levels Round Barn (1826, rebuilt 1865) Hancock, Massachusetts

Meetingroom Windows Meetinghouse (1792–93, moved from Shirley to Hancock 1962) Hancock, Massachusetts

INTERIOR SHUTTERS

The internal shutters with which windows are equipped at Canterbury and Enfield permit a range of lighting adjustments. At Enfield's dwelling house, a four-shutter system allows each panel to be operated independently, or in combination with others, so that light can be regulated at will, like a camera aperture, according to weather, temperature, and human activity. When the shutters are opened, they fold back and disappear into window reveals.

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