New photo exhibit, book celebrating the people of Longview on the town’s 150th anniversary

LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) – A new photo exhibit and new book celebrate the diverse community of an east Texas city.

Writer Gary Borders and photographer O. Rufus Lovett launched the “@ longviewTX150” project in the fall of 2018.

“I went for a glass of wine,” Borders said. “And in the wet bar hangs this century-old plate, which my father designed in 1970.”

The commemorative plaque that sparked Border’s idea for the project.(Blake Holland / KLTV)

Borders said that at that point, looking at a piece of art created by his father, the idea for the project was born.

“I watched it and thought it would be a fun project to profile 150 people from Longview from all walks of life,” Borders said.

From there, Borders called his friend and photographer O. Rufus Lovett. After Lovett agreed, the pair got down to work on a project featuring the people of Longview through photos and profiles.

“We have strived to have a wide variety of people from all walks of life,” Borders said. “And it will be up to the people who see it, to decide whether we are successful or not.”

From the likes of Longview Mayor Andy Mack to grocery store worker Vanessa Gonzales, the project includes a diverse group of people who live and work in a city known to reach greater heights.

A photograph of Vanessa Gonzales was the last to be captured by Lovett for the project.
A photograph of Vanessa Gonzales was the last to be captured by Lovett for the project.(Blake Holland / KLTV)

“It’s not 150 photographs, as some had more than one person, but we learned pretty quickly that we had to do it separately,” Borders said. “Because we started doing the first two together. I interviewed them and Rufus took their picture. And we were sort of exhausting them. So we worked on separate schedules and kept abreast. “

The photos and stories on display at the Longview Museum of Fine Arts are also found in a 136-page coffee table-style book available for purchase online.

Lovett owns the book '@ longviewtx150'.
Lovett owns the book ‘@ longviewtx150’.(Blake Holland / KLTV)

“It’s uplifting work and a look into the future for Longview,” said Lovett.

The photo exhibition will begin on Friday April 16 and run through July 3 at the Longview Museum of Fine Arts. The opening of the exhibition and the launch of the book are scheduled for Friday, April 16, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the museum. The book is available for purchase online and all proceeds will go to the Women’s Center of East Texas. The total costs of the project were subscribed by VeraBank.

Copyright 2021 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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