Texas, USA - 2022
Large – 56” x 96” Unframed, 71” x 111” Framed – Edition of 12
Standard - 37” x 63” Unframed, 52” x 78” Framed - Edition of 12
Bandera, Texas is the self-appointed home of the cowboy and a visitor is left in no doubt that this is the beating heart of Marlboro country and Marlboro men. This small town in the Hill Country also boasts a bar - Arkey Blue’s Silver Dollar - that is as good a honky-tonk bar to film in that I know of. It is also a firm fixture in the country music scene which is core to the culture of this part of the great state. Willie Nelson has sung here, as has Hank Williams, and of course, the owner himself, Arkey Blue.
Three requirements must be met for the saloon to work for me. I need a decent amount of ambient light from a door or a window; I need the décor to have a quin- tessential dive bar look to it and I need a well-positioned old pool table around which to build the narrative. We did our research in the area and Arkey Blues looked the most promising and the reality when we arrived was even better.
The cowboys had an important role to play in this image, but it wasn’t their toughest day at work. Many had just returned from being wranglers on the set of 1883, which allegedly involved 16-hour days. In contrast, all they had to do in this shoot was be themselves, have a beer and just be a little infatuated with our lead - Rox- anna. All quite easy stuff.
I have had this photo in my mind for as long as I started to immerse myself in the cowboy culture of Texas. For those who think this timeless culture may hold the state back, it is worth perhaps remembering that in 2023, Texas will be the 9th biggest economy in the world.
~ David Yarrow