The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 71, July 1967 - April, 1968 Page: 71
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Notes and Documents
He headed for Arizona and Old Mexico, rode the range as a regular
hand, wrangled horses and branded strays on large outfits between
the Cross Timbers and the High Plains." His camera constantly with
him, Smith was already aware that the great ranches were breaking
up, that the longhorn was being replaced by the more profitable
Hereford. Still, his intention was to be an artist, and he needed formal
In 1904, at the age of eighteen, he arrived in Chicago to study
under Lorado Taft, one of the foremost American sculptors. He had
early decided that 'picture-taking' was only the preparation for what
he wanted most in life to do: to create truthful plastic forms, bronze
sculptures of the men and beasts of the cow country, "because you
can express more that way."' He stayed for two years with Taft, then
decided to continue his study in Boston. But he had to delay this
sojourn to the East, for he yearned, while there was still time, to live
the life of the cowboy as well as the artist. "I knew that the life
wouldn't wait, and that the technique would. So I put off Boston as
long as I could."'1
With an Eastman Kodak with Goerz lens and volute shutter, he
returned to Texas, worked as a cowhand, and with great veracity pho-
tographed the working life of the cowboy, all the while dreaming of
the time he would be able to shape with his hands the clay which
would capture the spirit of the rearing horse, the bellowing cow, the
Torn between the need for further experience in the plastic form
and the life on the range which he loved, he was constantly photo-
graphing a way of life that would soon disappear. These were the
photographs that would soon excite the crowds in Boston.
It was a job which took infinite patience. Not only was he concerned
with technique, but he had to overcome his own 'shutter-clicking'
presence among men and animals. The cowboys were not accomplished
models and at first, curious and interested, they simply stared into the
camera self-consciously. If Smith had been content with such poses,
we would now have a collection of pictures not too unlike those
found in old family albums. But with persistence, working as a hand
himself and constantly urging his fellow-workers to go about their
'Quoted in Sherman Daily Democrat, October 1, 1934.
"Quoted in Steger, "Photographing The Cowboy As He Disappears," 11111.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 71, July 1967 - April, 1968, periodical, 1968; Austin, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117145/m1/89/: accessed March 20, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.