Texas, USA - 2022
Large – 56” x 92” Unframed, 71” x 107” Framed – Edition of 12
Standard - 37” x 61” Unframed, 52” x 76” Framed - Edition of 12
Devil’s Backbone makes claim to be “The oldest Dive Bar” in Texas. Situated on an earthquake fault, the historic venue offers spectacular views of the surrounding Texas Hill Country. The history dates back to the late 1890’s, when the first stone room was built for a blacksmith’s shop and a stagecoach stop at the base of a treacherous trail. After Prohibition, the sale of alcoholic beverages, particularly beer, became licensed in early 1936 and the tavern was built a year later.
In the 1950’s, a service station and package store building was added and shortly after, the dancehall was constructed. The venue became a one stop shop for all that Hill Country cowboys needed including a cold-beer, a tire change and a dance.
I knew there must be an opportunity here for a photograph that could pay homage to the working cowboy and the Backbone’s long history of serving a cold beer. The decor behind the bar and on the ceiling are classic honky-tonk and they demanded some involvement in a vignette.
The cowboy - the most enduring symbol of America, not just Texas - is identifiable by his hat and individual faces in a collective group matter less. Nothing is lost from anonymity if the narrative is true.
That understanding gave me the idea of building a story around the bartender and we had just the right girl with us - Roxanna Redfoot from Dallas, Texas. She is our go to bar girl whether we film with cowboys in Montana or Texas.
The image works; it is Texas through and through and I know the owners and staff of Devil’s Backbone are delighted to be a part it. That makes me happy as they were as good to work with as anyone we have met on our travels.
~ David Yarrow