Ask Matt Rainwaters about portraiture and he’ll expound on “compressing space” and being “true to the subject.” That’s all well and good when you’re photographing the Episcopal bishop of Texas (as Rainwaters did for us), but what about when you’re shooting a meat patty? “I approached it as I would a person,” says the thirty-year-old native Californian, who captured the gloriously greasy subjects in our roundup of the state’s best hamburgers. “I thought of each burger as a face.” Of course, Rainwaters, who lives in Austin, then got to taste his models too: “Wow. The Grape. It has the most unbelievable burger I’ve ever put in my mouth.”
Photograph by Jasmin Chang
Michael Hall first wrote about Sharon Keller and the Court of Criminal Appeals in 2002 for a story on capital punishment called “Death Isn’t Fair.” Since then, he has written about her and her brethren on the CCA several times, most recently in December 2007, when he argued for Keller’s impeachment in the wake of Michael Richard’s controversial execution. This month he profiles the judge—and details her actions on Richard’s final day. “She is an absolutely fascinating person,” he says. “She has this reputation as some kind of she-wolf of the S.S., but almost every single friend, peer, and enemy insists she is a fine, decent person. Who’s the real Sharon Keller?”
T. J. Tucker
Photograph by Mike Mcgregor
Creative director T. J. Tucker spends most of his weekends helping his dad punch cattle on his family’s ranch in the West Texas town of Baird. The sixth-generation Texan does not exactly fit the creative director mold; he still drives the same 1994 Toyota pickup that he had in college. But in spite of his aw-shucks humility, the awards and accolades keep pouring in. Two recent Texas Monthly covers—one of which featured an instantly iconic black and white portrait of Willie Nelson—won their respective categories in the American Society of Magazine Editors’ 2008 Best Cover Competition. In June, Tucker was promoted from art director to creative director at the tender age of 31. The move, which puts him in charge of the entire Texas Monthly brand, has inspired him to start working on a redesign. Tucker, though, remains unfazed, with no plans to part with his fifteen-year-old truck (nicknamed the Yoda) anytime soon.