Familiar Faces, Familiar Places
Exhibit captures everyday life in NE Texas
Patti Sells | News-Telegram Feature Editor

Martha Dickens of Winnsboro looks for familiar faces in the "Folks of Northeast Texas" photo exhibit at the Trails Country Center of the Arts in Winnsboro. The exhibit runs through Oct. 28.


Staff Photo By Patti Sells

Oct. 15, 2006 - The faces of the folks of Northeast Texas — including several from Hopkins and surrounding counties — can be seen at a photo exhibit throughout the month of October in the neighboring community of Winnsboro at the Trails Country Center for the Arts.

Better yet, they can be viewed on the Internet through Index Stock Imagery of New York City.

Glimpses of everyday life, such as shelling peas, hoeing gardens, building fences and even grocery shopping inspired retired professional photographer H. Ray Hendley to compile the collection, which spans the time from 1988 to 2000. 

"Every morning I would walk the country roads near my home and see all these sights. Real moments," recalled Hendley, who after retirement moved to East Texas, first to Sulphur Springs in 1984, and then Winnsboro in 1988. "I had all these pictures, and I thought I really ought to do something with them."

After some research in stock photography, Hendley said he submitted a 200- to 300-picture portfolio to the New York-based company.

"They liked my work," said Hendley, whose first career was with the U.S. Navy as a correspondent, writer and photographer during the Vietnam era.

Born in Delta County, Hendley began taking pictures in high school working on the yearbook staff in 1948. After graduating, he joined the Navy and served during the Korean War. He then attended college studying journalism and photography at Oklahoma State University, before re-enlisting with the Navy as a combat photographer. Most of his work, however, was done at the Pentagon in Washington.

Hendley's photos and writing have appeared in many national and international publications. He retired in California in 1978, then returned to his native state six years later.

"Moving to the country was like a little bit of heaven," he laughed. "The people were super-friendly and made great subjects."

Fifty-five pictures of people, both at work and play, grace the walls of Trails Country Center of the Arts, located at 200 North Market St. in Winnsboro. Viewings are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Pictures can be purchased for $25, or, if you are the subject of the picture, just $15. All proceeds go to the arts center.

"I thought I needed to share them with all the people of that area," said Hendley, who has since moved to Ponca City, Okla. "I love to capture people doing things at work and during their leisure time — doing what they do in everyday life. It's very heartwarming."

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