Amarillo Flights: Aerial Views of Llano Estacado Country
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After the success of his 2014 Marfa Flights: Aerial Views of Big Bend Country, Paul Chaplo has given us another visual and textual volume that is sure to delight and interest all readers who seek to know more about the beauty and history of the Llano Estacado. Working with his wife, Cynthia, throughout this impressive project, as well as with seven pilots, and nine aircraft, Chaplo and his team covered over forty thousand square miles in every possible kind of weather, flying over plains and playas and diving into canyons and river bottoms. Chaplo is known for the beauty of his photographic work, and this book adds to that reputation with his complex portrayals of the land and peoples. A valuable and fascinating history accompanies this personal journey. The book, like the region, is filled with “turbulent air and history.”
Readers will find excellent Texas art history background in Walt Davis's reviews of previous portraits of the land, from Louise Daniel to Wyman Meinzer and Frank Reaugh. Such commentary on previous photographic and artistic histories of western landscapes lends a fine context to Amarillo Flights and situates the work in a larger conversation.
Working in “the vast three-dimensional studio of the sky,” aerial photographer Chaplo has battled high winds, turbulence, dust, ice, near-miss bird strikes, wildfire smoke, and a host of aircraft problems to show the Llano Country from the air. He explores the incredible beauty and rich cultural history of the Panhandle and the surrounding landscapes, from Horsehead Crossing to the canyons of Texas and New Mexico, Fort Bascom site, Chavez City Ruins, Puerto de los Rivajeños, 1874 Adobe Walls Battlefield, and the Antelope Hills in Oklahoma—to name a few.
“In Amarillo Flights, Paul Chaplo from high above the land has brilliantly photographed the Llano Estacado’s vastness, its magnificent canyonlands, and its historic sites from new and wonderous perspectives. It is a marvelous book of history and photography.”— Paul H. Carlson
“The Llano Estacado, near level and treeless, has escarpments on three sides in the states of Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. Paul Chaplo’s photographs encompass not merely the three eroded edges of the plains but also the immensity of the flatness that they surround. This comprehensive panorama of the Southern Great Plains from above is unequaled in the work of his predecessors.”— T. Lindsay Baker