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Sunrise Sunset: Solargraphs by Bill Wittliff

January 11, 2018 — July 30, 2018

Taking a photograph does not always require a shutter and lens. One of the simplest and earliest photographic techniques utilizes only a tiny hand-made pinhole to record light. Using tallboy beer cans or small sections of PVC pipe, Bill Wittliff places his pinhole cameras in the landscape, leaving them for weeks or even months at a time. The resulting images, called solargraphs, trace the movement of the sun and are thoroughly unpredictable in their results. Wittliff has been making these stunning images since 2014. This exhibition highlights more than 50 of his solargraphs, revealing the abstract beauty in the Texas landscape.

The Gulf of Mexico from South Padre Island, Fall 2014 by Bill Wittliff
<i>The Gulf of Mexico from South Padre Island</i>, Fall 2014, by Bill Wittliff

Bill Wittliff is a distinguished writer, film producer, and photographer whose images have been exhibited in the United States and abroad, and published in three monographs—Vaquero: Genesis of the Texas Cowboy (2004), La Vida Brinca: Tragaluz Photographs (2006), and A Book of Photographs from Lonesome Dove (2007)—as well as in A Book on the Making of Lonesome Dove (2012), all with UT Press.

His photographic work has also appeared in numerous exhibitions, catalogs, books, and periodicals. His documentary photographs of Mexico’s vaqueros have been exhibited in numerous galleries and institutions throughout this country and in Mexico, including the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, and the Texas Capitol. In Japan, the Vaquero images represented the U.S. during its bicentennial year. His exhibition Vaquero: Genesis of the Texas Cowboy, which is still touring, inspired the statue by Clete Shields that stands in front of Old Main on the Texas State University campus. As a screenwriter and producer, his credits include The Black Stallion, Legends of the Fall, The Perfect Storm, and Lonesome Dove, among others. Wittliff is a past president and Fellow of the Texas Institute of Letters and a recipient of major awards for writing, filmmaking, and book design. He and his wife Sally, are co-founders of Austin’s highly regarded Encino Press and The Wittliff Collections.