As a child in the nineties, Ben Sklar traveled from Austin to Luling to play soccer games and frequently found himself gazing at the town’s numerous pump jacks. Years later, driving around the state as a photographer, he realized that pump jacks are a ubiquitous part of the Texas landscape. But the Luling specimens stood out, for one reason: decades ago the local chamber of commerce decided to beautify the town by decorating many of the area’s “nodding donkeys” with plywood facades. Last December, Sklar finally did something about his lifelong fascination and took his camera to Luling to shoot a dozen pump jacks. “I spent most of a day, from eight a.m. to eight p.m., taking pictures,” he says. “And eating barbecue.”

Photographs by Ben Sklar