On TX 302, trucks groaned and paced between Odessa and Kermit. Notree’s sign marked the road and endured. Grass jostled. In town, mailboxes stood outside an abandoned gas station and held letters. I stared at a cafe, unoccupied. Brush filled the open terrain.
Burn bright, my first experience with a photo darkroom was in an Odessa school. I rolled film, listened to music and printed for a journalism class. I cut my teeth at ball games and saw photos of the plains and realized a documentary path.
After college, I worked at a newspaper and ventured across the High Plains in my free time and met a place called Happy. I saw grain elevators and brick streets. I watched kernels of wheat sway in the wind and viewed Palo Duro Canyon, an inverted mountain. Furthermore, a friend gifted an 8x10 enlarger, and I entered a world of large-format photography. However, I moved to Austin for work and watched my newly found Eden shrink in the rearview.
So happy it hurts, after five years in the city and a stay at Navasota, I returned to Odessa with an appreciation for studio arts and pulled the 8x10 enlarger from storage to open a darkroom named the Dry Plate Factory & Press. From my shop, I can keep an eye on my home and toil inside, a picture maker absorbing light.