Robert Clark has a soft spot in his heart for Odessa, the town that gave him the most important exposure of his career. Back in 1988, Clark quit his job at the Philadelphia Inquirer and sojourned in the West Texas city so that he could shoot the football players at Permian High School for H. G. Bissinger’s Friday Night Lights. When the book was published two years later, it was enough of a success that it opened doors not only for the writer but also for the photographer: In the years since, Clark has gotten work at a variety of major publications, including National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, and Texas Monthly (his portraits of director Peter Bogdanovich and artist Robert Rauschenberg recently graced our pages). So it was something of a homecoming when he returned to Odessa this summer to reshoot those same players (see “Over Time”). Clark says he found his subjects more mature, and that’s not the only observation he came away with. After living for the past seven years in New York City, he says, he had forgotten that “one small town could have so many pickup trucks.”
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