A version of this story ran in the July 2013 issue.
Twenty years ago, as a kid in Fort Davis, I would visit the dentist in Pecos, 70 miles away. I remember Pecos having many businesses and restaurants, the town surrounded by lush fields of cotton, alfalfa and melons. I returned to Pecos in February 2011 to see what had changed. The fields are now dusty plains littered with oil derricks, and half the town’s buildings are boarded up or vacant behind broken windows. The sons and daughters of farmers now work in the oil fields, or in new hotels built to house oil-field workers.
For two years I made weekly trips to Pecos to talk with locals and take their photos. I gave each subject a signed, matted and framed print of their portrait—about 120
so far—in exchange for letting me photograph them.