AMARILLO BY MORNING
Wagons evoke childhood memories of watching John Wayne Westerns on the BBC on cold winter evenings. No mode of transport is more emblematic of the great push West and the attendant dangers. For a storyteller of life on the final frontier, props don’t get any better, but finding an authentic one and taking it to the pre-researched location in the wilderness of West Texas is a challenge and an expense.
Anyhow, those issues overcome, the biggest problem with photographing a wagon on the move is that it does not suit my style of photography which would tend to be to shoot towards the oncoming wagon. This is simply because the horses’ heads will be at least 10 feet in front of the people driving the wagon. One or other would be in focus, but never both. To have the foreground subject out of focus is a tension point in any photograph and to have the human characters out of focus would seem fairly suboptimal. I wrestled with this the night before the shot and finally it dawned on me what to do.
I think it works and I have always wanted to have a picture with this title. I am sure they made it to Amarillo by morning.
The whole image smells of old Texas and that was the goal.