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Melinda Wickman Swearingen: Outlaw Odyssey

Photo of Melinda Swearingen by Scott Newton
Melinda Wickman Swearingen at work in 1976 at the Willie Nelson 4th of July Picnic in Gonzales, Texas. Photo by Scott Newton.

In the early 1970s, photographer Melinda Wickman Swearingen’s iconic photographs helped define the outlaw country music movement in Texas. Her early photos were the visual backbone of Jan Reid’s seminal 1974 book “The Improbable Rise of Redneck Rock.” Her images of Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings for the 1976 album “Wanted! The Outlaws” crystalized a new music genre and their enduring friendship. The Wittliff Collections is presenting 19 rare and unpublished photos of Nelson and Jennings, including outtakes from the “Wanted! The Outlaws” sessions. This is the first major exhibition of any of Swearingen’s work.