The Way Home: Photographs from the Heart of Texas

Front Cover
Texas A&M University Press, 1992 - History - 152 pages
Sometimes the only way home is through the family scrapbook. June Van Cleef gives us another way: through her dramatic, poignant, and time-capturing photographs. In her sometimes bold, sometimes subtle images she finds the universal home of her rural upbringing--the farm and ranch scenes, the small town shops and churches, the family reunions, and the character-lined faces that formed us.

With a fine photographer's eye, she frames for us the everyday life that made a place Home. The seventy pictures were taken in and around Hamilton, the county seat of Hamilton County in the gentle hills of Central Texas. Scenes of Hico, Fairy, Carlton, Pottsville, Shive, Aleman, and other parts of the county show the people engaged in their daily lives and capture the essence of rural life in Texas today, as well as the essence of the culture --at once individualistic and communitarian--from which most of today's city dwellers sprang.

In his crisply moving introductory essay, Bryan Woolley presents the perspective of those who want to find the way home–but not to stay. "Not to work there as their parents and grandparents did. Not to try to wrestle a living from the stubborn soil in the old way. To build a little weekend retreat in the country someday, maybe. To go hunting or fishing. To try to find old landmarks that still live in memory. To visit the graves of their forebears." And to show their children the home that gave rise to them.

It is a way we can all go as we savor the photographs of this particular home.

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About the author (1992)

June Van Cleef is a professional photographer and professor of photography at Collin County Community College. She spent her high school years in Hamilton before earning a bachelor's degree in art from Sul Ross State State University and a master's degree in art from North Texas State University. She has studied at the Rochester Institute of Technology.Bryan Woolley, a native of the Carlton community in Hamilton County, is a popular feature writer for the Dallas Morning News and the author of several books.

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