THE TEXAS RANGERS
Texas, USA - 2022
This photograph, taken near the Blanco in Texas, is a revisionist take on the fabled Texas Rangers. The rangers were founded in 1823 when Stephen F. Austin, known as the Father of Texas, employed ten men to act as rangers to protect 600 to 700 newly settled families who arrived in Mexican Texas following the Mexican War of Independence. While there is some discussion as to when Austin actually employed men as "rangers", Texas Ranger lore dates the year of their organisation to this event.
It is appropriate, therefore, that we shot this series just 50 miles west of Austin in the cowboy town of Blanco. I needed to have references to the Rangers on the set; like the office and the badges on the rangers, but I wanted more than that. My instincts were that they had to look as tough as possible. The Rangers may have done some less than ethical things, but they are admired now for their sense of duty in chaotic times.
I led with a cowboy called Cody - he had a very real presence about him - not dissimilar to the bad ass character “Rip Wheeler” in Taylor Sheridan’s excellent melodrama Yellowstone. Cody cuts the uncompromising and authoritative figure that the subject matter required. This was a time when few gentle folk prevailed.
But I sensed from the first creative processing of the idea that I needed more and that is why I decided to shoot in a rainstorm. Rain simply adds another layer to the story and in this case, it is exactly what was needed to add not just more texture, but an enhanced suggestion of grit and sense of purpose. It serves as a metaphor for the dark days of Texas history when there were always clouds in the sky and some bad local storms.