The Texas borderland is an entirely contradictory place. In some areas thriving communities exist. In other places nothing is seen except green border patrol trucks prowling the hills. They make their presence known by the wisps of dust they leave behind. Life on the border has never been easy but things were better in times past. The population has been declining in some areas of the border for decades.
If you look carefully there are interesting relics of the past to be photographed along the Texas-Mexico border. But there are things to consider before jumping in with both feet. In the old days rattlesnakes and scorpions were dangers. Today, desperate people, some armed, may be present. There has always been a certain freedom of action practiced along the border. Today it is more overt and sometimes deadly.
A general rule in the Western United States is commerce follows the railroad. Interesting ghost towns will be within a few miles of rail or improved road transportation. Today highway 90 is the main road in the area. It follows the railroad right of way for the most part. To start exploring you need some good maps, a vehicle with high clearance and a desire to explore. The history is there you just have to go find it.
There are a great many ways to interpret ‘New’ in terms of photography. The most common may be to associate the phrase with visual trends or hipster image makers. There are also diehard old guards who insist chemical based imaging is true photography. Anything else is well, something else. There can be nothing new there. That attitude is about as valid and non sequitur as ‘cane makers are the true buggy whip manufacturers’. It’s just hype to satisfy golden age readers. I admit to fitting an aging demographic but not the sentiment.
Another common way to connect ‘New’ with photography is the latest digital camera technology. Huge pixel counts, novel sensor configurations, see in the dark ISO limits. Certainly these are new in the sense that they have not existed in consumer products in the past. They are evolutionary Improvements in current technology not revolutionary in any sense. Not really new. Any school kid or marketing guy can see that stuff a mile away. I’m not sure exactly what new photography is but it is not more of the same.
Sensor makers, camera manufacturers and admen will not determine a new direction for photography. It will be people who use technology in interesting creative ways who push us forward. I know this is just another rehash of the young titans who brought us garage built computers, cell phones and the like. I just believe it will be those sorts of people who define the path. I’m old but still a technologist at heart.
So, what will be the new photography? My guess is that it will be a convergence of technologies we think of as VR. I believe immersive imaging in some form is the new photography. We are currently preoccupied with artificial boundaries between different forms of image presentation such as still, video, immersive and so forth. Once you have sufficient technology you can derive any type of image presentation from the same source material. In the end new photography will be something that allows consumers to capture moments in time with fidelity that closely matches what our eyes perceive as reality.
These photographs were made in Luckenbach, Texas a few days ago. There were a couple of hundred people on hand that day celebrating Texas Independence. I didn’t know there was a party going on until I got there. It was great fun.
Luckenbach is an excellent place to photograph musicians onstage. You can get in close for some really interesting shots. The crowds there are always eclectic. Generally they are a mix of cowboys, professional types masquerading as bikers and tourists who drift down from Fredricksburg. Everyone hangs out in front of the outdoor stage to drink a few beers and relax. It is a target rich environment for enterprising photographers. Well worth a visit if you are in the Texas Hill Country.