Software used: Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop
Cowtown is not only a place in Texas, but also an idea. When I first moved to Forth Worth in 2018, I was struck by the mashup culture I found there. Neither Wild West nor cookie-cutter suburbia, the Texas I found existed in a fascinating liminal space between the two. Everywhere I looked, I saw an uneasy, undulating mix of "cowboy culture" turned commodity, a commercialized, romanticized reimagining of a profession that still exists. Rickety motel signs called out to roadside customers in a cutesy cowboy drawl; genuine elk antler chandeliers got a price markdown in an antique shop; and gift shop windows boasted row after endless row of identical plastic cowboy hats.
But in Cowtown, as in everywhere else, it's impossible to draw anything but an arbitrary line between "real" and "fake." Every repurposed machine shop, plaster-cast moose head, and bedecked classic car tells part of the story of a community trying to make room for a still-living past while careening into the future at breakneck speeds. This project, then, is my attempt to catalogue that specific place where drover meets novelty shop meets modern Texan. Welcome to Cowtown.