Photo Book Review: The Face Of Texas

It is said that everything is big in the great state of Texas and that certainly includes the rugged sense of individualism and the independent spirit of those who live there. Michael O’Brien is well known for being one of America’s top portrait photographers. In his latest book, The Face of Texas, he presents us with a wonderful collection of finely crafted portraits featuring unique Texans (both native and naturalized).

His more famous subjects range from politicians to show business icons and include former president George W. Bush, first ladies Laura Bush and Lady Bird Johnson, Willie Nelson, Larry McMurtry, George Strait, Tim Duncan, Kinky Friedman and Beyoncé. O’Brien didn’t limit himself to just the rich and famous, he also wisely included a selection of portraits of more down to earth Texans.

Every day people are featured, such as ranchers, farmers, cheerleaders, beauty queens, conservationists, church members, bar and restaurant owners, schoolteachers, artists, business owners, athletes and more. O'Brien's portraits also represent a selection of cities, towns and neighborhoods from one corner of the state to the other.

This is the latest edition of The Face of Texas and O’Brien has added 17 new portraits and 6 updated photographs of subjects from the first edition. These new portraits of famous Texans include John Graves, Richard Linklater, Joel Osteen and Cat Osterman and each is accompanied by freshly updated profiles. Writer (and former Life reporter) Elizabeth O’Brien is the mind behind these brief and insightful writings that are paired with each portrait. Together they make an amazingly creative team and I recommend adding this book to your personal library.

Photographs by Michael O’Brien from “The Face of Texas,” are used by permission of the University of Texas Press. Copyright 2014 by Michael and Elizabeth O’Brien. For more information visit

The Face of Texas; photographs by Michael O’Brien, with stories by Elizabeth O’Brien; University of Texas Press; $24.95; (ISBN: 978-0-292-763313-5)

More info on the book here.