Walker Pickering (b. 1980) is an artist and photographer based in Austin, Texas. His work is primarily documentary in nature, using photography as a means to get access to people and places that might normally be unavailable. Walker was raised in the oil fields of West Texas and the swamps of far East Texas but spent his summers at family reunions in the Deep South. Walker has since returned to the Southern and Southwestern United States on several road trips to create his series, Nearly West, which we share with you today.
The first half of my childhood was spent in the West Texas desert oil fields, and the other half among the swamps and bayous of the Southeastern part of the state. Six-hundred miles stood between them. I grew up thinking they not only couldn’t have less in common but that I wasn’t truly from either.
My ancestors hail from Alabama, Mississippi, and the like, and I spent summers as a child driving there for family reunions. I always felt like a stranger in each of these places as well, though still somehow connected to them.
In the late 80’s, my father’s job took him to Port Harcourt, Nigeria for two years. Traveling as a child to this unfamiliar place allowed me to connect with a culture which I’d never even considered. When I returned home, I had an altered sense of place. Over the years, I began to wander the area with new eyes, more as an explorer than an outsider. Nearly West is a journey of re-imaginings, in pursuit of something that might not have existed in the first place.
Walker’s work has been exhibited throughout the United States, and is included in a number of private and public collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and The Wittliff Collection of Southwestern & Mexican Photography. He is the recipient of the 2013 Clarence John Laughlin Award, among others, and teaches, lectures on his work, and photographs on commission.
To view more of Walker’s work please visit his website.