Michael O'Brien

Eye On Texas: Michael O’Brien Collects the Faces of Texas


A version of this story ran in the October 2014 issue.

Texas is a mythic land—some say a “country unto itself”—and its citizens include myriad distinctive characters, from celebrities to small-town personalities. The Face of Texas, published this year by the University of Texas Press, celebrates this spirit and individuality with a human mosaic of the state. Subjects include Waxahachie High School’s dancing Cherokee Charmers; retired Spur, Texas, schoolteacher Ila Johnson, who renewed her Texas driver’s license at 97; George Dawson, who learned to read and write at 98 and wrote his first book at 102; Willie Nelson; Ran Horn, the “Van Gogh of Van Horn”; and Lonesome Dove author Larry McMurtry in his Archer City “book ranch.” The images in the book, accompanied by stories written by Elizabeth O’Brien, run the gamut from “W,” the former U.S. president, to well-known Austin homeless man Stephen Blair.

See more of photographer Michael O’Brien’s work at obrienphotography.com.

CALL FOR ENTRIES: Seeking Texas-based documentary photography that captures the strangest state. Please send inquiries to [email protected].