Wednesday, September 30, 2009

'Flagatography' book pays tribute to Texas flag

Longtime Houston Chronicle photographer E. Joe Deering noticed a Lone Star flag painted on a building in Cisco in 2002, and then he began seeing the flag on pickups and barns and gates and mailboxes and boats.
He decided there might be a photographic story there, and a few months later the Chronicle published an eight-page spread in its Sunday magazine.
That led to a “Flagatography” exhibit at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum on the Texas A&M campus in 2005 (Deering even provided handmade frames for the 135 pictures).
Now Texas A&M University Press has published a delightful collection of Deering’s inspired photographs – Lovin’ That Lone Star Flag – an elegant coffee-table book reasonably priced at $29.95. It's one of my favorite Texas books of the year.
Ruth Rendon, a former colleague at the Chronicle, provides an informative introduction and foreword telling about the Lone Star flag itself and about Deering’s obsession with it.
Each picture is accompanied by a caption telling about the flag image portrayed and when and where it was taken.
Photographs show the flag on:
A guitar used by the band Lonestar.
Bruce Lavorgna’s Texas Lone Star balloon, Aerodactyl.
An outhouse outside Schulenburg.
A police car in Palmer.
A muffler in Dayton.
Bowling pins at a bowling alley in Lake Jackson.
A watering trough in Texas City.
A fleet of tanker trucks in Brookland.
Oil drums and cell phones in Kerrville.
An El Campo family’s basketball backboard.
A single-engine airplane in Kingsville.
A bathtub in San Marcos.
One photograph shows a couple decked out in Lone Star flag shirt and skirt for their wedding in front of the San Jacinto Monument, “where Texas won its independence,” the wife points out, “and (husband) Kenny lost his.”
There are pictures of flags on boots, spurs, caps, shirts, running shorts, arrows, golf balls, windmills, buckets, birdhouses, and steakhouses, among other uses.
Deering, not a native Texan himself, said he understands why so many people like to paint and display the Lone Star flag in so many creative ways.
“It’s just because they like being in Texas and being a Texan,” he says. “It’s that Texas pride.”