Chronicles of the Big Bend: A Photographic Memoir of Life on the Border
As a young teamster on a pack-mule train, Wilfred Dudley Smithers saw the Rio Grande's Big Bend for the first time in 1916, and it captured his imagination forever. For decades thereafter he returned to Texas's last great frontier -- the great bend of the Rio Grande on the Texas-Mexico border -- chronicling the region and its people in words and photographs.After half a century of photography, Smithers's superlative collection of nine thousand images ended up at the University of Texas at Austin, and in 1976 more than one hundred of these were reproduced in Chronicles of the Big Bend, a critically acclaimed work that has long been out of print.Smithers's word sketches and black-and-white photographs capture the harsh reality and stark beauty, the dust and the mystery of the frontier era of the Big Bend that ended in 1944 when it became a national park. Chronicles of the Big Bend is a rare documentary look at a frontier region as it was known by only a few and as it will never be seen again. It is a deeply personal human portrait of the majestic Big Bend.