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Photographers You Should Know: Wyatt McSpadden

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Information for this article came from Calumet Website and the Website of Wyatt McSpadden

Texas photographer Wyatt McSpadden’s images are impeccable. It doesn’t matter if he’s shooting in color – which are 10 steps past vibrant – or in black-and-white, his images are a good example of photography done well.

McSpadden’s career began in 1976 and he’s still working on his craft. After leaving his native Texas in 1974 for year to study photography in Sacramento, California, he returned to his hometown of Amarillo in 1975.

Stanley Marsh (Photo Credit: Wyatt McSpadden)

Stanley Marsh (Photo Credit: Wyatt McSpadden)

In an interview with Calumet, McSpadden discussed what sparked his interest in photography. He said, “I got interested in photography and had friends who were into it during high school. After graduating in 1970, I went to work for Stanley Marsh—the guy who commissioned Cadillac Ranch. Stanley’s an eccentric millionaire who had a big home out in the country on lots of land. He had a bunch of hippies working for him out there. He also had kids, lots of animals, and was involved in the creation of various art projects, so he always wanted to have a photographer around. One day circumstances were such that I became the official photographer for Toad Hall (the name Stanley gave to his home and headquarters). That’s what put me in the position to document Cadillac Ranch being built. I was always taking pictures of art projects and all kinds of zany stuff that was going on out there. Later, when I was figuring out what I was going to do with my life (instead of remaining a hippie at Stanley Marsh’s house), I started scouting around for photography schools.”

Photography has also helped him in his personal life. McSpadden is married to a former client – Nancy McMillen, who was the art director at Texas Monthly magazine for 23 years. They had a long-distance romance before McSpadden packed up from Amarillo and moved to Austin.

Currently, McSpadden has a book, Texas BBQ, which is a look at a essential element of the Texas life: Barbecue. He has spent nearly 20 years documenting barbecue, in particular the little family-owned cafes they serve up the fresh (real) BBQ.