When I Think of Texas is an autobiographical project for photographer Katherine Oktober Matthews, about the mixed emotions she experiences while returning to her place of birth. Having lived abroad for the last ten years, Matthews observed that the outside perception of Texas has deteriorated substantially over this time, raising internal conflict of belonging versus distance. “I am of Texas, yet I am not at home there,” she says. She turns a camera onto the oddities and charms of Texas. Using 35mm format and the kitsch nostalgic colouring of the film, the photographs aren’t an idealized representation of Texas, and in fact, often reveal its dilapidated and ugly countenance. In acknowledgment that Texas is a place that holds many stereotypes — cowboys, NASA’s iconic ‘Houston, we have a problem’, the TV show Dallas, and the greatest shadow over all of them, George W. Bush — the photographs seek to show the complexity of Texas as a place, as well as the conflicted emotions she holds while being there.
When I Think of Texas won 1st place in the Blurb/GRID 2012 Talent Award contest, and an excerpt from the project was published as a column in GUP #33, The Stories Issue (you can also read an excerpt online).