**The Digital age and Cameras**
Ever since I switched from film to digital I have struggled with over shooting the subject and not making as many memorable portraits, which is what I've always thought was my strongest work. While the landscape work seemed to get better, and the ability to make beautiful panoramics was a Godsend, I couldn't say the same for my portraits. I missed the medium format. So last week I went and talked to my banker, got myself a loan, and purchased a medium format camera system. I have not yet owned it a week, but I am so excited to get in to the next phase of my life's work. It will be nice to slow down and enjoy portrait making again. See if you can feel the change.
There are a few very exciting things happening, but it is too early to mention them. Stay Tuned.
**Big Bend is Different**
The current Texas Monthly's cover story is called Big Money Small Towns. Essentially writing about how one person with deep pockets can invest in a town and make a whole lot of difference. As a resident of Marathon, and Big Bend, I have been, and am, witness to a lot of change. When Lynne and Tim Crowley moved to Marfa and opened the bookstore/coffee shop/art gallery it represented a new wave. It premiered some of the best art books I've purchased. I discovered several finds there. Artists I never heard of before. Odd Nerdrum pops in my head first. Tim Johnson carries on the tradition. The Crowley Theatre has had some amazing, intimate concerts, plays and forums. Jenny Lebermann and Fairfax Dorn (The Ballroom) continue to bring cutting edge art exhibitions. Mix that with Donald Judd's masterpieces, Dan Flavin's beautiful light sculpture buildings, Richard Chamberlain, and Robert Irwin, who I must confess, I have not even seen yet, then add Liz Lambert's El Cosmico, and you have a very unique town. Liz too, has put on some great events. Mumford and Sons played there right as their fame was starting to escalate. There is a palatable irreverence in the town, and the complaint I hear the most is nothing is ever open. I think if Donald Judd was alive, he wouldn't be hanging out at the coffee shop. Like most true artists I've met, he would be working. I can tell you personally, the more you realize that you are closer to the end of the rainbow, the more you want to work on your legacy. Thank you Tim and Lynne, and thank you Jenny and Fairfax, and thank you Liz for making Marfa our cultural outpost.
I spoke last month about JP Bryan, what he has done for the town of Marathon, and me personally. So read last month's Full Moon if you haven't.
Then there is Terlingua. It is booming. For me it has changed the most and not necessarily for the better. There are lots of VRBO's now. A young woman, Lauren Werner, is building a great looking hotel. The front porch at the Terlingua Trading Post is mostly tourists. You can barely get in the Starlight, it is so busy. I closed that bar many times in the 90's. There are two reasons I think. The Cottonwood grocery store. Rick has brought real and good food to the area. It is as fine store with a wide variety of items. Fresh food in the desert. Then when Glen, the owner of LaKiva, was beaten to death, National Geographic sponsored a series that ran on television. I watched one episode, and my bullshit meter exploded. But you have to think that if 10 million people watched it and .003 percent thought I want to live in Terlingua....... Well there you have it. A town full of wannabes.
Lajitas too is growing. They've just expanded the airport and there is a condominium project in the works.
Big Bend has twice as many visitors as when I moved here. It is still a difficult place to get to. As long as a 737 can not land in the area, tourism, hopefully, will remain relatively low. Growth is not just here - every small town I drive through on the way to Austin now has a little art community. So what is my point? None. For the record, I've never promoted tourism. The less people the better. My books are about a photographer inspired and in love with his subjects, creating a body of work that reflects the area and his time on the planet. That's it. One last thing. The mountains have not changed a bit.
Happy Full Moon. Get Outside.