“Roberto Lopez, oil field worker, Lyons, Texas, 9/28/80” is part of Avedon in Texas.

Avedon! The name still conjures up thoughts of the great photographer going about his glamorous job, taking pictures of powerful heads of state and gorgeous movie stars. However, in the midst of his glittering career, a series of heart inflammations brought him to a project commissioned by our very own Amon Carter Museum of American Art. In 1978, Museum Director Mitchell Wilder asked Avedon to take some pictures of the West. Rather than the usual photos of sunsets over prairies and cowboys riding the range, In the American West was a series of portraits of people he found in slaughterhouses, oil fields, and carnivals, seeming to locate their innermost qualities. Decades later, Avedon would call In the American West his best body of work.

Avedon in Texas: Selections from In the American West features the 17 photos that he took in our state, ranging from 13-year-old rattlesnake skinner Boyd Fortin to disheveled oil worker Roberto Lopez to truck driver Billy Mudd, who later admitted that seeing the picture of himself forced him to make changes to his life and go back to his family. Our connection to one of photography’s giants will be on display at the museum that spurred him to capture these Texans.

Avedon in Texas: Selections from In the American West runs Feb 25-Jul 2 at Amon Carter Museum of American Art, 3501 Camp Bowie Blvd, FW. Admission is free. Call 817-738-1933.