The Face of Texas celebrates the individuality and independent spirit of Texas through compelling portraits of its people by Michael O’Brien, one of America’s premier portrait photographers. In this acclaimed photo essay, he assembles a gallery of noteworthy Texans both native and naturalized, ranging from former president George W. Bush and first ladies and Laura Bush and Lady Bird Johnson, to famous figures such as Willie Nelson, Larry McMurtry, George Strait, Tim Duncan, Kinky Friedman, and Beyoncé, to ordinary folks who’ve made their mark on Texas as ranchers and farmers, cheerleaders and beauty queens, conservationists, church members, bar and restaurant owners, Odd Fellows, schoolteachers, artists and writers, business owners, and athletes.
For this new edition of The Face of Texas, O’Brien has added seventeen new portraits and six updated photographs of people from the first edition. Writer and former Life reporter Elizabeth O’Brien offers insightful verbal vignettes to accompany the new portraits and also brings us up to date with the lives of the rest of the subjects. This winning combination of images and stories about a fascinating, eclectic mix of Texans is a fitting homage to a unique state and an essential addition to every Texas bookshelf.
A two-time recipient of the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for outstanding coverage of the disadvantaged, Michael O’Brien has photographed subjects ranging from small-town heroes to presidents. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including Life, National Geographic, Texas Monthly, the London Sunday Times, and the book Hard Ground, which pairs his portraits of the homeless with Tom Waits’ powerful poetry. O’Brien’s photographs are in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC; the International Center of Photography in New York City; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Southwestern & Mexican Photography Collection at the Wittliff Collections at Texas State University.
A lifelong collector of personal stories,Elizabeth O’Brien has worked as a reporter for Life magazine, as well as for newspapers in South Florida. Today, she is a writer and a psychotherapist with a private practice.