Photo Essay

Spanish Land Grant Ranches in South Texas

South Texas

I went to south Texas to photograph the ranches that had been given ownership of the land by the King of Spain in the 1740's and were honored by the State of Texas, Department of Agriculture.

What I found was a strong patriotic people that welcomed us in with a little hesitation but open arms. That's continious operation by generations of strong people since before there was a State of Texas. Before even the signing of America's Declaration of Independance by the likes of Jefferson, Hamilton and Franklin.

They have faught the indians, the corrupt governments of Mexico and the United States, and the white-man invation from the American Eastward Expansion, They also faught the weather, insects and now the changes of the modern world. Not that they would trade their cell phones or dualy trucks and horse trailers with kitchen, hot showers and king size beds.

Through all this they have developed a love of America, a strong relationship with God, a strong work ethic, and a honor that is" their word is there bond " and that a hand shake still stands for something.

We were taken in with open arms and great smiles, housed and feed to the inth degree. Treated with a wholsome respect and honor.

This is a very small part of a larger project that is in its first stages. I plan to visit and even live down in the Valley. To build a collection of images that will document a way of life in transition but still holds the values of church and state, the values that makes our America great.

I shoot with a Wista 4x5 field camera, Hasselblad 6x6 and a full array of lenses that I have collected over the last 30 years and Canon Digital that I have been playing with for the last couple of years. Raw files for the digital and Fugi transparencies for the 4x5 and 6x6. Also I use traditional Tri-X rated at 320 for my B&W Michael Billert... July, 2007

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