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The Waggoner Ranch | Texas Land & Oil

January 23, 2014

Last week, I had the pleasure of joining a team of engineers, geologists and roughnecks out at The Waggoner Ranch to photograph some of Texas’s most beautiful land and historic oil fields.

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In case you don’t know, The Waggoner Ranch is a  520,000-acre ranch covering more than eight hundred square miles and spreading across six counties. It proudly holds the title of the nation’s largest contingent ranch. Without question, it has impacted the culture and fabric of the Red River country west of Wichita Falls—and of Texas itself.

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Looking from the highway today, the pastures remain somewhat timeless and impregnable as they have for the last hundred years. While you’ll find cattle, county roads and oil on them today, they breath with ease the beauty of Texas.

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I went out to photograph something so ingrained in us Texans : land & oil. It’s all around us here in this great state. It seems to be a part of our heritage and our story. There is something so peacefully stunning about the way the land and the oil are uniquely one :: seen by the ebbing and flowing of the Pumpjack mimicking the long, windy sways of the tall grasses. It’s a peaceful place on The Waggoner Ranch to a bystander like me – contradictory to the history and the struggle of the generations of family who call it theirs.

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It was a peaceful place for me that day- I wasn’t measuring well depth, moving pipes or collecting mud samples. I wasn’t searching for a show of oil, or a hint of gas. Instead, I was away from it all with a camera in my hand, seeing it all from another perspective. I enjoyed that day, completely unaware of the in-depth logistics, blood, sweat, and money imbedded in something as vast as The Waggoner Ranch.

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For a day, I got to get away from the city and hold my camera in a raw way again. Without a studio, a creative director, a client- I got to take my camera, my creativity, my ideas and enjoy them simply. Enjoy them in the way the sun hit an oil rig or how the casing looked covered in mud. I got to enjoy the day, the people, the stories effortlessly … and in return, here simply are my photographs. For your enjoyment. For mine as well. Because, like I said, Texas Oil & Land, is something engrained in us Texans, and it seemed fitting to have a piece of it for myself.

I hope you enjoy! – CMH

Ps- Big thank you to my sweet little brother for allowing me to come to his office for a day…

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