Searching for Santa

This time of year in East Texas you never know where he’ll turn up: on lawns and roofs, in trees, and even some places that may sleigh you.

Photographs by O. Rufus Lovett.

On Christmas eve starry-eyed children may search the heavens for a glimpse of Santa and his reindeer, but O. Rufus Lovett takes a more down-to-earth approach. Every December the Longview photographer, best known for his portraits of Kilgore’s sassy Rangerettes, shoulders his camera bag and then dashes, dances, prances, and blitzes around East Texas’ indescribable displays of outdoor decor, hoping to catch Mr. Claus red-handed. “People around here go all out for yard art,” Lovett says, “especially at Christmas and especially with Santa Claus.” Lovett’s portfolio reveals the many sides of Saint Nick, from predictably merry to surprisingly reverent. But as different as the faces may be, one thing is constant with the jolly old elf: You laugh when you see him in spite of yourself.

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