Despite Hollywood stereotypes, Texas is not just an expanse of desert and not everyone owns a horse. With sprawling cities like Dallas and Houston, beautiful beaches like South Padre, salt marshes on the eastern Coastal Plains, and the awe-inspiring Guadalupe Mountains near El Paso, the landscape of the Lone Star State is rich and varied. Inspired by both natural and urban beauty, it’s no wonder the creative landscape is equally diverse – especially in the world of photography. Discover more about these Texas-based photographers to watch out for.
Jay B Sauceda
A man of many talents, Sauceda describes himself as a “pilot, photographer, chili fanatic” and “professional Texan”. In 2015, he completed an ambitious aerial project for Texas Monthly, capturing the entire 3,822-mile perimeter of the Lone Star State from the sky. An almost week-long endeavor, the project started in Galveston and went to print in April 2017. Read the full story in the print issue or online at Texas Monthly, but be sure to check out Sauceda’s Instagram for an almost daily outpouring of the state’s raw beauty. Follow along and be transported: you’ll see Texas like you’ve never seen it before.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
If Jay B Sauceda’s project tempts you to consider a trip to West Texas, Jennifer Boomer’s work will seal the deal. A frequent contributor to Texas Monthly, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, Boomeris based in Marfa, Texas. She was chosen as one of Photolucida’s Critical Mass Top 50 Photographers and included in the Magenta Foundation’s Flash Forward – Emerging Photographers lists: her colorful portraits and haunting desert landcapes don’t make it hard to guess why.
Ratcliff may be from Texas, but you wouldn’t necessarily know it from the exotic destinations on his website. According to Forbes Travel Guide, his website, Stuck in Customs, is the number one travel photography blog on the internet. Ratcliff’s portfolio showcases his cinematic style and love for adventure, as well as his penchant for sharing helpful tips and product reviews for even the most amateur photographer. His shots are dramatic, drawing the eye inward; as if to further enhance the drama, Ratcliff likes to play with HDR settings to overlay exposures and moods. The effect is stunning and thanks to his detailed tutorials, his website will have you picking up a camera in no time.
Jackie Lee Young
Based in Austin, Jackie Young’s work is both prolific and mesmerizing. Her portraits most recently appeared in the Sunday Times, with other features in Paper Magazine and Billboard. Specializing in music, travel and fashion portraits, Young has a unique ability to capture the souls of musicians, whether mid-performance at a festival or lounging in the green room. Her Instagram feed is a visual feast that will both brighten and inspire your day, including her spellbinding stories.
Chelsea Laine Francis
And speaking of brightening your day, Chelsea Francis is another photographer to add to your list. Her photos are a welcome explosion of color, featuring bright and beautiful products, stunning portraits (like the one below of local florist studio, Bricolage Curated Florals), and dazzling stills. Check out the full portfolio on her newly rebranded website, which features business-savvy tips for other budding photographers and entrepreneurs, plus behind-the-scenes blog posts on some of her recent shoots. And be sure to follow her on Instagram for a daily dose of encouragement, too.
Kayla Barker is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer specializing in destination weddings and on-location portrait sessions. Using an artful approach to create beautiful, light-filled images, Barker’s style evokes a sense of emotion and beauty. She has documented clients across the United States, in Europe, the Caribbean, and many beautiful places in-between. In 2014, she was named the Best Photographer by Mod Wedding, and her work has been featured in countless publications such as Brides, The Knot, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Junebug Weddings, and more.
Kyle Steed is a Dallas-based photographer with a remarkable ability to capture the beauty of ordinary life. His abstract compositions can seem almost other-worldly at first glance: upon closer inspection, the viewer recognizes objects from daily life or a landscape from a national park on a recent adventure. Also an artist, Kyle’s murals are featured around Dallas, and you can watch videos of his process on his website.
Aaron Bates is an outdoor lifestyle and nature photographer based in Texas, but clearly with an eye for travel beyond the Lone Star State. His images celebrate the spectacular scenes in nature that take our breath away, and his mission is to capture those moments in such a way that viewers will be inspired to explore further. Bates is an advocate for conservation, a supporter of national and state parks, a hiking and camping enthusiast, and a lover of all wild places. His work has appeared in Garden&Gun, Men’s Journal, Texas Monthly, and more.
Another multi-talented photographer in the Lone Star State is Houston-based John Dunaway, a merchant mariner who spends about half the year traveling around the world as the captain of large cargo ships. Dunaway catalogs his travels through his Instagram account, AbstractConformity, which will have you debating a career change and a life at sea as soon as you start scrolling. When not traveling by boat, Dunaway spends plenty of time snapping equally stunning shots on land, capturing his family adventures.
Currently based in Houston, Lauren Marek is “inspired by small towns, old friends, and simple moments” – an epithet that aptly sums up her unique style behind the lens. Her landscapes convey a sense of calm: scenes so serene they look like stills from a different era. Her portraits capture the distinctive expressions of her sitters, making the viewer feel they know the subject – even if they’ve never met. From band photos to product advertisements, Marek displays an extraordinary range of talent and this won’t be the last time you see or hear about her work.
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meet our Local Insider
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I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.