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News Release — November 1, 2009

Revealing Character

Frost Bank donates Robb Kendrick tintypes to the Wittliff Collections

SAN MARCOS, Texas—The Wittliff Collections at Texas State University-San Marcos announce Frost Bank's donation of 32 original tintypes and 12 archival lightjet prints by the internationally acclaimed photographer Robb Kendrick from his series and book titled Revealing Character.

As Tom Frost states in the introduction to the book, Frost commissioned Kendrick in 2004 “to undertake a Texas expedition to document the character of the land as seen in the faces of its truest men and women, those we call cowboys.” Kendrick drove 18,000 miles through Texas, visiting 39 ranches and photographing cowboys and cowgirls, not as Kendrick says, “to romanticize the cowboy…but to document those who still carry on the traditions, values, and lifestyles that many today would find isolating, lonely, or simply too hard.” And he documented them the old-fashioned way:
with tintypes.

Tintypes were invented in the mid 1800s, and are made directly on a thin iron plate that has been coated with chemicals, exposed in a camera while still wet, and developed on the spot. Robb Kendrick is one of only a few photographers in the U.S. making tintypes, using this historic wet-plate method. Each tintype he produces is one of a kind, handmade from start to finish.

“This project resonated with our company's deep Texas roots and our belief in the importance of character,” said Dick Evans, Frost’s chairman and CEO. “We are happy to be able to share these tintypes with the Wittliff, whose commitment to preserving the Southwest’s cultural arts ensures that people will enjoy them for years to come.

Frost asked Margaret Blagg, former executive director of the Old Jail Art Center, to serve as curator of a traveling museum exhibition of the tintypes that toured throughout Texas for three years, starting in 2005. Bright Sky Press published the book, Revealing Character, in 2005. To learn more about Kendrick’s work, visit his website, www.robbkendrick.com.