DURING MORE THAN thirty years as a professional photographer, Austin’s Reagan Bradshaw focused on two things: the state he loved and the profession he cherished. Bradshaw—who died October 11, at age 55—made a name for himself in the late sixties as a staffer for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, where his landscapes quickly revealed him to be a natural. The Texarkana native later pursued many other aspects of photography—portraiture, commercial shots, artistic whimsies—and published three coffee-table collections. The many outdoor activities he enjoyed offered visual potential too, particularly aerial photography; in fact, Bradshaw was killed when his ultralight aircraft crashed on takeoff near Manor.
“His pictures were wonderfully gentle but had a deep, rich quality, very much like he was himself,” says Roy Flukinger, the senior curator of photography and film at the University of Texas’ Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center. Adds Earl Nottingham, TP&W’s chief photographer: “I see his work all the time in the files—and I don’t have to see the name on the label to tell it’s Reagan’s work. We talk about someone taking pictures, but Reagan was making pictures. In this era of clip art and throwaway pictures, he understood the intangible value of real photography, and he looked out for all of us.”