SHERMAN, TEXAS—Austin College hosts the art exhibit “The American Cowboy: Photographs by Bank Langmore” in Johnson Gallery of Wright Campus Center now through May 2, 2014. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The exhibit is free and open to the public.
Bank Langmore left a successful corporate career in the 1970s to become a fulltime photographer. Fascinated with the working cowboys of the American West, Langmore set out for ranches in Nevada and Wyoming and quickly established himself as one of the preeminent photographers of the American West. His book, The Cowboy, is considered by many as one of the seminal works on the subject.
Langmore was based in San Antonio for many years, with one of his first exhibits in the Bank of America Plaza in downtown San Antonio.
The photographs now on display at Austin College are from the College’s Special Collections housed in Abell Library on campus. The College held a Cowboy Heritage Festival in 1979, directed by Jerry Lincecum of the English faculty. The festival included seminars, guest speakers, and an exhibit of cowboy photographs by Bank Langmore. Following the exhibit, Austin College purchased four of the photographs, and Langmore donated 26, totaling 30 photographs for the “Cowboy Heritage Collection.” Langmore also donated the custom-welded frames, mats, glass, backing material, and the custom-built crates that would properly store the framed images.
For the 1979 exhibit, Langmore wrote the following about his work:
“The cowboy … buckaroo … there a number of words that could be used to describe a very small but elite group of fellows, perhaps no more than 600, who still make their lives a-horseback most every day of the year. These are the guys, and their families, who made this exhibition possible. After getting to know them and their lifestyle over the past few years, I have become infatuated by the cowboy profession and for what it stands.”
“When I started out to take my first cowboy photographs in 1974, I had a fantasy—to photograph the cowboy and his country the way Will James had written about him, drawn him, and described him in his many books written a half century ago. I have seen a lot of Will James country since then, been in some of the same outfits where he punched cattle 50 years ago and ridden out alongside cowboys and buckaroos all across the west. Yes, it’s changed. But I think if Will James were here today he’d be the first to say, ‘It sure looks Western.’”
Austin College is a leading national independent liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas. Founded in 1849, making it the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original charter and name, the College is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA). Recognized nationally for academic excellence in the areas of international education, pre-professional training, and leadership studies, Austin College is one of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives.