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Bob Widdicombe takes photos about people. Not of people, but about them. Specifically, he takes photos about the people of the Southwestern towns he has lived in, of Albuquerque and Austin and points in between.

Because it makes him unhappy to disrupt people’s privacy with his lights and lenses, Widdicombe has learned to see people through their surroundings. To his eye, human beings reveal themselves in the icons and detritus they leave behind them, in—literally—the writing on the wall. So he prowls behind Texas’ glittering facades, through alleyways, back rooms, and border towns, seeking out secret colors and hidden vitality.

The photos on these pages were all taken at dusk, a special time for Widdicombe. He penetrates its mysteries with his flash but shows his respect for its subtleties by leaving his lens open for several seconds afterward, letting the lingering twilight soften and blur his images. The arresting results, like the subject matter, repay close examination.