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Craig Cutler, Donald M. Yena and Jeff Wilson

By April 2009Comments

Craig Cutler

Craig Cutler

Craig Cutler

The last cover that Craig Cutler shot for Texas Monthly was a lone helmet for the “Texans at War” issue, in March 2006. That may seem like a world away from the fried chicken and other cheap eats he photographed for this month’s cover, but the New York–based artist treated them the same: as still lifes. Of course, this assignment required a bit more planning—and appetite—given that he had to hit four cities in four days. “It was really a run-and-gun kind of thing,” he says. “But I hope I captured the feeling of each dish.”

Donald M. Yena and Jeff Wilson

Donald M. Yena, Jeff Wilson

Donald M. Yena, Photograph by Callie Richmond
Jeff Wilson, Photograph by Dan Winters

For Donald M. Yena, authenticity is the hallmark of his historical paintings. “The whole world is my critic,” says the San Antonio artist with a chuckle. “People may not be able to draw a horse, but they’ll let me know if something isn’t accurate.” That love for detail caught the eye of art director T. J. Tucker, who thought Yena’s series of famous Texas battles, which he completed in 1967, would be the perfect fit for a story on that topic called “Ghosts of War”. Yet Tucker also wanted a contemporary view of the sites, so he asked Austin photographer Jeff Wilson to shoot them as well. The result is a striking study in contrasts: a historical painting alongside a current image. “I had never worked on a project in which I re- created an existing work,” Wilson says. “Paintings tend to have a greater sense of mystery and wonder, while photographs are rooted in reality. I wanted to make the images occupy both sides.”

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