CANYON, TEXAS — Beginning July 17 and running through January 23, 2021, Paul Chaplo’s exhibit, Amarillo Flights: Aerial Views of Llano Estacado Country will premiere at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum. The one-person exhibit will showcase his personal aerial photography of the high plains of the Llano Estacado, with a focus on the rugged escarpments and breaks in Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. The exhibit will be on the second floor in PPHM’s Bivins Gallery for an almost six-month showing and will feature approximately thirty-eight large format color photographs taken during Chaplo’s aerial expeditions over nearly 40,000 square miles of land.
It is Llano Estacado’s great expanse and elusive beauty that makes aerial photography of the area so special. Chaplo’s photographs offer a vision of breathtaking landscapes as varied and diverse as Texas itself, with endless vistas, the formidable Canadian River, and ventures far upstream into the Canyonlands of northeastern New Mexico. History fans will see traces of trails traveled by the Comanche, Goodnight and Loving; the top of Landergin Mesa where prehistoric Antelope people once dwelled; and battleground of Adobe Walls were Billy Dixon made “the shot of the century.” Chaplo says, “I also show the view from the Native American vantage point, looking westward over the mesa.”
The work covers a large area from Horsehead Crossing north along the Mescalero Escarpment to the Canadian River Canyon, and west to the Antelope Hills, Oklahoma, including Castle Gap, Casa Amarillas, Fort Bascom site, Alibates Flint Quarries, Palo Duro Canyon, and many more dramatic landscapes and historic sites.
Chaplo’s upcoming book titled, “Amarillo Flights: Aerial Views of Llano Estacado Country,” is scheduled to be published by Texas A&M University Press in late 2020, as part of the West Texas A&M University’s “American Wests” series. The art book features over 130 breathtaking aerial color photographs. The book includes an introduction by Walt Davis and a series preface by Bonney MacDonald. “The perspective from the air is mesmerizing” says Chaplo.
Fine art photography from thousands to hundreds of feet in the air is no easy feat, but Chaplo’s approach is guided by his personal passion for flight.
“I’m an Air Force brat, born on Wright-Patterson AFB and loved seeing the landscape from above since I was a kid flying with my Dad. My father was a career US Air Force combat and test pilot who was awarded multiple Air Medals and Distinguished Flying Crosses. I find a deep personal connection with my work because of my life experiences, and my love of the land. Sharing my vision from above with the rest of the world is something that brings me great joy,” Chaplo says. “I was raised with aviation fuel on my corn flakes, and am passionate about interpreting the light and forms of the Llano and canyon lands using a fusion of digital and traditional fine art photography techniques. My inspiration is a spirit of soulful connection to the land.”
Signed, limited editions of photos being shown in the exhibit will be available for acquisition by corporate and individual collectors. A price list will be available at the PPHM Store, with a portion of the proceeds going to support PPHM. All of the photographs are printed on “Palo Duro” fine art paper by Chaplo’s exhibition sponsor, Red River Paper of Dallas.
Amarillo Flights: Aerial Views of Llano Estacado Country is organized by the artist in conjunction with Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum and is dedicated to his wife Cynthia. After premiering at PPHM, the exhibition will travel to other museums. The artist gratefully acknowledges the following for their support in the creation of the photographs, the book, and this exhibit: Red River Paper, Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, TAMU Press, WTAMU, Cynthia Chaplo, T. Lindsay Baker, Paul H. Carlson, Walt Davis, Bill Mercer, and all his brave pilots.
About the Artist
Paul Chaplo earned his Master of Fine Arts degree in Photography from Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY. His work has been nationally exhibited at numerous museums and galleries including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C. His commercial work focuses on energy, railroad, architecture, engineering, and aerial photography in Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana, and Oklahoma.
Located on the campus of West Texas A&M University, the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum is the largest history museum in Texas, with more than 285,000 square feet—and over two million artifacts—dedicated to preserving this area’s past. PPHM offers visitors a chance to step into panhandle history with special exhibits, a permanent collection and plenty of space for social distancing. We are currently open at 25% and have safety guidelines for all patrons. For more information please visit www.panhandleplains.org .