American West

One of the more famous lines attributed to John Ford (1894-1973), the iconic film director who made many of the finest Westerns ever to come out of Hollywood, goes like this: "When the truth becomes legend, print the legend." That line is from "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," a movie from the early 1960s, but it just as clearly applies to "The Searchers," the classic Western from 1956, with John Wayne and Natalie Wood, which is commonly seen as a Ford masterpiece.

On this edition of ST, we speak with Jim Richardson, a longtime contributing photographer for National Geographic magazine (and contributing editor to NatGeo's Traveler magazine) who is known for his globe-trotting photo-journalism as well as his carefully observed images of rural American life. As a social documentary photographer who's been in the business for 30+ years, Richardson has enjoyed an influential and far-flung career.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we are discussing the interesting characteristics, colonies, mating practices, defense maneuvers, and kinship structures of prairie dogs --- yes, prairie dogs: those once-plentiful-but-now-dwindling rodents that exist in five different species throughout the grasslands of North America. Highly communicative and actually able to "speak" via several distinct and sophisticated (and quite discernable) calls, these burrowing mammals have long been studied --- much like, say, apes or whales --- for social/behavioral reasons.

Our guest on this edition of StudioTulsa is the New Mexico-based photographer Gus Foster, who's been capturing images with various panoramic cameras since the early 1970s. There's a new exhibit at Tulsa's Gilcrease Museum --- on view through October 7th of this year --- called "Panoramic Landscapes of the American West: Gus Foster's Views of this Broad Land." It's a collection a 20+ works that are as spectacular and sweeping as they are carefully executed and richly diverse: a series of color photographs of our western States that are 8, 10, or 12 feet in length.