Portraits from the Desert: Bill Wright's Big Bend

by Wright, Bill

The Big Bend is one of the last places left in America that's a long way from anywhere. Maybe that's why it draws such an eclectic range of people. Certainly it was Big Bend's unexplored remoteness that drew Bill Wright and three high school friends on an Easter break in 1950. Since that earliest visit, he has returned to Big Bend again and again, finding sustenance in its spare, desert landscapes and in friendships with the people who have found a home there. In this book, Wright combines deeply observed photographs with a beautifully written text to offer an intimate portrait of the people and the land of the Big Bend. Covering an almost-fifty-year span, his words and images capture both the timeless quality of the region and the changes that have followed in the wake of increasing tourism and human settlement. The heart of the book is Wright's portraits of the people who have added unique chapters to the Big Bend story. From artist Donald Judd, who found the perfect setting for his work in Marfa, to Terlingua and Lajitas residents who gladly forego urban amenities to the Mexican villagers who have offered him hospitality, Wright explores why so many people have developed an almost mythic attachment to the Big Bend.

University of Texas Press, 176 pages
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