New photo exhibit, book celebrate people of Longview for city’s sesquicentennial

@longviewtx150 celebrates city’s diverse community though profiles and portraits

Longview 150

LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - A new photography exhibit and book celebrate the diverse community in one East Texas city.

Writer Gary Borders and photographer O. Rufus Lovett first started the ‘@longviewTX150′ project in the fall of 2018.

“I went to get a glass of wine,” said Borders. “And in the wet bar hangs this centennial plate, which my dad drew in 1970.”

The commemorative plate that sparked Borders' idea for the project.
The commemorative plate that sparked Borders' idea for the project. (Source: Blake Holland/KLTV)

Borders said at that moment, while looking at a piece of art created by his dad, the idea for the project was born.

“I looked at it and thought it’d be a fun project to profile 150 people from Longview from all walks of life,” Borders said.

From there, Borders made a call to friend and photographer O. Rufus Lovett. After Lovett agreed, the two men got to work on a project showcasing the people of Longview through photos and profiles.

“We strived to have a wide variety of people from all walks of life,” Borders said. “And it’ll be up to the folks that see it, to decide if we succeeded or not.”

From people like Longview Mayor Andy Mack to grocery store worker Vanessa Gonzales, the project includes a diverse group of people who live and work in a city known for soaring to greater heights.

A photograph of Vanessa Gonzales was the last to be captured by Lovett for the project.
A photograph of Vanessa Gonzales was the last to be captured by Lovett for the project. (Source: Blake Holland/KLTV)

“It’s not 150 photographs, because some had more than one person in them, but we learned pretty quickly we had to do this separately,” Borders said. “Because we started doing the first two together. I would interview them and Rufus would take their photograph. And we were kind of wearing them out. So we worked on separate schedules and kept each other apprised.”

The photos and stories on display at the Longview Museum of Fine Arts can also be found inside a 136-page coffee-table style book available for purchase online.

Lovett holds the '@longviewtx150' book.
Lovett holds the '@longviewtx150' book. (Source: Blake Holland/KLTV)

“It’s an uplifting body of work and a look forward to the future of Longview,” Lovett said.

The photo exhibit debuts Friday, April 16 and runs through July 3 at the Longview Museum of Fine Arts. The exhibit opening and book launch is set for Friday, April 16, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the museum. The book is available for purchase online with all proceeds going to the Women’s Center of East Texas. The total costs of the project were underwritten by VeraBank.

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