Grit and Glory, Six-Man Football: Photographs by Laura Wilson
Timed to coincide with the 2011 Super Bowl XLV at the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium, the Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University will present an exhibition exploring the regional tradition of six-man football. Six-Man Football: Photographs by Laura Wilson, will be on view from January 30–April 24, 2011, and will feature a selection of images from Wilson’s book Grit and Glory: Six-Man Football. The exhibition will examine the cultural importance of football to the Texas community, and the local tradition of the six-man version of the sport
An acclaimed photographer, Laura Wilson was an assistant to Richard Avedon for six years. Wilson’s documentation of Avedon’s creative process and working methods culminated in her publication of Avedon at Work: In the American West which was named Book of the Year by the Royal Photographic Society of England in 2004. Wilson become intrigued by six-man football in 1991, and spent the next eleven years taking several thousand photographs of six-man games. Using a Nikon camera, a 35 or 85 mm lens, and an on-camera flash, she employed a pared down technique meant to match the intensity and directness of the sport itself. Traveling through Texas, visiting small, rural towns, Wilson photographed games across the state, resulting in an exhibition that conveys the spirit of the sport and the passion for the game.
Football is an integral part of local Texas culture, and in towns too sparsely populated to field eleven-man teams, the tradition of six-man football became a common solution. With fewer players and a smaller field, six-man football is a game of speed and high scores. As the mother of three boys who played high school football in Dallas, Wilson understood the obsession with football, and became curious about the six-man incarnation of the sport after hearing about the high, basketball-like scores. Following a trip to Moran in Shackelford County one October night in 1991, Wilson became hooked on the game, and began driving hundreds of miles around the state, taking the photos that culminated in her book Grit and Glory, Six-Man Football: Photographs by Laura Wilson will include 31 photographs, featuring players from 14 cities in Texas.Wilson’s work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, The Washington Post Magazine, Texas Monthly, and London’s Sunday Times Magazine. In addition to Avedon at Work, Wilson has produced other books including Hutterites of Montana (2000), Watt Matthews of Lambshead (1989), and Grit and Glory: Six Man Football (2003). [Since 2009, the Meadows Museum has enjoyed a special relationship with Laura Wilson, who is photographing the museum’s collection of modern and contemporary sculpture for a forthcoming publication. Laura Wilson lives and works in Dallas, Texas.