Longno Photography Featured on Magazine Cover

by Asia Williams, photos above by Peter Longno courtesy of Texas Farm & Home magazine 2012, portrait of Longno by David Vaughn

In a season of magazine racks overflowing with pictures of golden-brown turkeys and headlines shouting “15 Delicious Stuffing Recipes!,” a magazine cover featuring a stark silhouette of a longhorn statue juxtaposed with a tumultuous grey sky background is a bold and refreshing alternative to another helping of media mashed potatoes and gravy. Open the front cover of Texas Farm & Home and in small letters at the bottom it reads: Cover photo by Peter Longno.

Peter Longno may be a man of few words but his photographs speak volumes. They speak of a passionate but humble photographer that quietly captures beauty, and he tells fascinating stories of the seemingly mundane land of West Texas.

“Photography is a passion, an art form, a way for me to express what I see from my very own eyes to a physical copy,” Longno said.

Longno is a recent graduate of Texas Tech University and former photography student of instructor Kippra Hopper. She was contacted by one of the managing editors at Texas Farm & Home, in search of Texas Tech students to write and photograph an article about the National Ranching Heritage Center.

“I asked Ms. Hopper to find me an eager student to help with the project. Seeing as the ranching center was associated with the university, I thought it a natural fit to go with a promising student,” said managing editor Wayne Stewart.

Hopper had just the promising student in mind; she thought of Longno immediately.

Peter Longno

Peter Longno with camera

“He was a really good student, really good photographer, teaching himself a lot about lighting, and I was just impressed with him because he’s so ambitious and a perfectionist in his work.,” Hopper said.

Beyond the cover, Longno was able to get 16 of his photographs published in a six-page spread in the November 2012 edition.

Originally the cover for the November edition of the magazine was going to be Thanksgiving related, Stewart said, that was until he saw Longno’s work.

“When we saw the photos Peter had uploaded, the silhouette of the longhorn statue made a deep impression on us, and to us it symbolized the ranching heritage of Texas. Peter gave us more than we could’ve hoped for,” Stewart said.

With his first published work, Longno beat out Thanksgiving for the cover story.

“I was surprised to get the cover story, but I was also really excited,” Longno said.

Longno’s passion for photography comes to life when he talks about his favorite photograph of the 16. A simple one-room cabin sits at the bottom of a hill, warm light basking its perfectly weathered walls. The structure is surrounded by a neatly manicured garden that seems almost out of place next to the old cabin, but the picture captures the ambiance and spirit of a carefree simplicity, perfectly.

Longno spotted the cabin through the trees while roaming the grounds one morning and shot the photograph with a long lens through the trees. Maybe part of the magic of the photo is that he was able to capture the cabin just as it was waking up, unaware that the morning light was making it so beautiful.

Longno hardly acknowledged his accomplishment, but when speaking of this photograph he said, “Man, that morning light hit it really, really nice.”

Hopper, who also has taught Magazine Writing, became Longno’s accidental collaborator when the student who was going to write the article dropped out at the last minute. Hopper came to the rescue and wrote the magazine article herself.

“I wanted Peter to have this opportunity to get published, so I wrote a 1,400 word narrative article about the National Ranching Heritage Center so I could make sure that his photographs would get published,” Hopper said. “I was hoping that with the narrative and the great photos that we would hit the cover. It worked.”

Along with a passion for her student’s success, Hopper has a deep love for finding the beauty of West Texas and articulating the region through photography. She currently is teaching West Texas Photography this Spring 2013 semester as a PHOT 4300 Special Topics class.

“West Texas is my forte; that’s my main and major body of work of my lifetime. I think the class is going to be fun,” Hopper said.

Who knows how many covers for Texas Farm & Home or another magazine might come out of that class. mc

Asia Williams is a senior public relations major from Logan, Utah.
David Vaughn is a junior university studies major from Spur, Texas.

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