In a work of sweeping breadth and beauty, Geoff Winningham has created a profusely illustrated, contemplative travel journal that showcases his talent as both a photographer and a writer and reveals his affection and respect for the two countries he calls home. In 2003, photographer Geoff Winningham saw for the first time both the southern coast of Veracruz, with its volcanoes, rain forests, and steep mountains, and the Texas coast near High Island, where the land seems to stretch endlessly, covered by a sea of salt grass. He decided that these two visually striking areas could be the beginning and end points of a photographic study that would also engage the two cultures in which he had lived for twenty years, the U.S. and Mexico.
Now, seven years and more than a hundred trips later, Traveling the Shore of the Spanish Sea: The Gulf Coast of Texas and Mexico is the result. In this beautifully illustrated and engagingly written book, Winningham also considers the role that the Gulf of Mexico played in the discovery and exploration of the New World.
Winningham's journey begins east of High Island, in Port Arthur, where the images suggest a cautionary tale relating to the oil industry and the land. It ends twelve hundred miles down the coast at the end of an old, stone road in tropical terrain of almost indescribable beauty, overlooking the sea. In between, more than two hundred photographs include natural landscapes (ranging from unspoiled to completely despoiled), roadside architecture and signage, and images of people Winningham met. As he attempts to come to terms with the disturbing changes he witnessed to the coastal environment, the book also contains elements of a poignant, personal lament for what is being lost.
Traveling the Shore of the Spanish Sea: The Gulf Coast of Texas and Mexico will delight and enchant readers with its deeply felt personal narrative and the power and beauty of its images.
Geoff Winningham is professor of visual arts at Rice University, where he has taught photography since 1969. His work is included in major anthologies of photographs and is in most major collections in the U.S., including the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and the major art museums of Texas.
What Readers Are Saying:
". . . a wonderful read. . . Winningtham not only revels in the history of the regions he traverses, he exhibits his own essential humanity in his dealings with and regard for people he meets--often less educated and fortunate than himself. . . flows seamlessly and smoothly introducing the reader to Texas, Spanish and Mexican history as it has intermixed and blended in the years since Pineda surveyed the coastline for the Spanish Crown."--Bill Wright, independent writer and photographer, author of The Texas Outback (Texas A&M University Press, 2004)
"This book, once begun, is difficult to put down. A masterpiece of story-telling, illuminated by breath-taking images, it is enlivened with the author’s adventures as he traverses the shore of the Spanish Sea—often turned aside by the heart-rending circumstances of the people he meets; truly a wonderful book, worthy of gracing any bookshelf or bedside table."—Robert S. Weddle, author of Spanish Sea: The Gulf of Mexico in North American Discovery, 1500-1665 (Texas A&M University Press, 2000)
“Why should we love the world, the difficult world? Accomplished picture makers and storytellers, of whom Geoff Winningham is surely one, help us toward an answer by describing individual regions—in this case the relatively little known western Gulf Coast—so vividly and fondly that they impart even to our distant homes a borrowed splendor. I am grateful. Winningham knows that he has composed in some respects an elegy, but it is a tender and redemptive one.”—Robert Adams, photographer
“Master photographer/journalist Geoff Winningham’s Traveling the Shore of the Spanish Sea is a lyrical confluence of images and text – both a picture book and biography of that great sweep of landscape and people and history that stretches 1,500 miles south from the refinery-infested air along the Texas/Louisiana border all the way down the Gulf Coast to the Shangri La of the Sierra de Tuxtla in southern Veracruz. With his camera and notebook Mister Winningham traveled every mile of it, stopping to visit with people he met along the way, making his journey one of the heart as well as of the eye. Never preachy, the resulting book is, by example, both a lament for what has been despoiled or lost, and a celebration for what remains. And most certainly it is a work of art.”—Bill Wittliff
"...an absorbing new book. Traveling the Shore of the Spanish Sea is the best kind of travel book - it takes you completely away. What more could you ask for?"--John Sledge, al.com
"Geoff Winningham's photographic journal is knowing and quirky. . . from Sabine Pass, Texas to Veracruz, Mexico. . . He conflates a hundred trips taken over many years into one seamless voyage of discovery. . . stories that require the telling and reward the listening. . . His book has garnered some impressive awards. . . The book's 9 by 12 size (double-page photos are two-feet wide) makes it stunningly attractive for the coffee table. Its intertwined ruminations and adventures make it intellectually satisfying for the armchair traveler. Highly recommended."--Texas Review of Books