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Beyond Cowboy Hats and Big Belt Buckles: Images of Modern-Day Dallas

Beyond Cowboy Hats and Big Belt Buckles: Images of Modern-Day Dallas
Loren Smith

Loren Smith, who was raised in Alaska, moved to Dallas in 2004 as a 17-year old. As he discovered more of the always-growing region, Smith began to document it with his camera. Now living and working out in the suburbs while venturing into the city on the weekends, his photographs provide a diverse, straightforward glimpse into daily life in the country's 4th-largest metropolitan statistical area.

We caught up with Smith via email to ask him about what he sees in Dallas and why he's so interested in photographing it:

How long have you been photographing Dallas?

I have been interested in photography for a long time, but only started photographing seriously in the area for the last year.

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Since you've started, how has the region changed? Does it show in the pictures you take?

I have only been photographing the area for a very short time; however, because of changes in Dallas I have been compelled to photograph the public. Year by year, Dallas is becoming more pedestrian friendly, getting people like myself out and enjoying the city.  For example, one of my favorite places to photograph, Klyde Warren Park, opened about a year ago. It is an incredible park, where people from all cultures and communities come together to enjoy the city.

What makes the Dallas-Fort Worth area interesting to photograph?

DFW has a wonderful and unique mix of cultures, races, socioeconomic levels, etc. These factors make for an endless supply of interesting people, interactions, locations, and events. 

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What's the biggest misconception about Dallas?

Before I lived here, I really didn’t know what present day Dallas looked or felt like. Often times, Dallas's emerging cultural identity is overshadowed by past historical events. I was expecting a much stronger country western feel to the city; ten gallon hats and huge belt buckles. Although this a small part of Dallas culture, the city is far more diverse and varied than I expected.

For me, the Dallas of the present is a place with an amazing arts district, incredible food, and a place where people with very rich cultures come together and co-exist. 

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All images courtesy Loren Smith

Keywords: Dallas, Texas, Photography

Mark Byrnes is an associate editor at The Atlantic Cities. All posts »

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