The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

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miles of open desert below Santa Elena" (p. 24). The river passes through
the lower canyons with some of the nation's most exciting white water
rapids, not an "empty desert," "a hundred miles east of the Big Bend
country" (p. 24). And the Mexican dictator did not spell his name "Santa
Ana" (p. 22).
Amon Carter Museum of Western Art RON TYLER
The Diamond Years of Texas Photography. By Ava Crofford. (Austin:
Published by author, 1975. Pp. v+336. Illustrations. $25.)
For those who would pick up this book with the hope of learning some-
thing about the history and development of photography in Texas, this
work will be a disappointment. The title is misleading: the book is the
description of a professional organization, not a history of Texas photog-
raphy. The Texas Professional Photographers Association, founded in 1898,
has had as members some of the best commercial photographers in the
state, and some, such as Jack Stiles and Paul L. Gittings, have national
reputations in the profession. The 300 or so members of the Association
should find much to enjoy in this book, but for readers interested in
information about how photographic studios were established in frontier
towns, the economics of these early studios, the role photographers played
in the development of their communities, or even the effects of technological
changes on commercial photography in Texas, the book offers little sub-
stance. By careful reading, a searcher can find some information of historical
interest, particularly in the biographies of Association officers-such as
that of an early president who began his career at the turn of the century
photographing boundary lines in South Texas where the big ranches were
subdividing, or that of a later member who made a business out of photo-
graphing A&M graduates. Unfortunately, one must sift through seemingly
endless descriptions of the administrative workings of the Association to
find these kinds of details.
Although the author includes excerpts from major news events in each
section to place the reader in time, the selection of photographs makes it
seem as if there has been no connection between these events and the work
of commercial photographers in Texas. Images reflecting the effects of two
world war, a depression, and social upheaval are conspicuously absent.
The bookjacket suggests that the photographers of Texas "make learning
possible for the multitudes," but the work presented here illustrates Ameri-
can life in terms of socialites, business executives, industrial development,
and romantic landscapes. The pictures themselves are of professional quality,

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101203/. Accessed April 17, 2014.