Black Gold

Marathon, Texas – 2023

It may seem totally incongruous in 2023, but horses and oil derricks were necessary bedfellows in the nascent days of the US oil industry.

This was true everywhere, but presumably in cowboy states, it was the most natural of combinations. Long after the invention of the motor vehicle, horses would be a mainstream feature of drilling locations in West Texas.

My goal was to tell a story around this unlikely combination and my instincts were for it to be simmering with energy. Like so many, I found Paul Anderson’s There will be Blood totally mesmerizing and no more so than the moment they struck oil.

The narrative was one of chaos and people running in many directions and that was what I wanted to borrow from.

We had built our set not far from where There will be Blood was filmed in West Texas. There were many reasons for doing this, no more so than our friendship with many local cowboys who we have worked with over the years. There is also a “can do” attitude towards getting things done which we really admire. The horsemanship in this part of the world is also without equal and my lead here – Ryan Marshall – is as good as they get.

My preference is always to shoot against the light as it adds drama to features that are defying gravity, which in this case was both oil and dust. I haven’t seen this story being told before, which always gives me a little thrill. Like Texans, we think big too.


LARGE: Edition of 12
  • Image Size: 65” x 56” in (109.2 x 93.98 cm)
  • Framed Image: 80” x 71” in (203.2 cm x 180.3 cm)
STANDARD: Edition of 12
  • Image Size: 43” x 37” in (109.2 x 93.98 cm)
  • Framed Image:58” x 52” in (147.3 cm x 132.1 cm)

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