The honour of being invited to photograph Dallas Cowboy legends Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman was coupled with a concern as to exactly what narrative to lean on. Photographing two people is always more challenging than one, as there is every chance that the composition looks stiff and ceremonial. This was not a society magazine’s - “grab an image of the most famous quarterbacks in the franchise together” assignment - it was an opportunity to be creative and tell a broader story.
Roger and Troy agreed to meet me in a long-established steak house in the historic west end of downtown Dallas called The Yo Ranch Steakhouse. The joint has been in operation for 26 years and offered decor that played to Texas lore. When we scouted earlier in the week, there was one section of the restaurant that was sufficiently deep enough to give me the space to build up a background context.
Dallas is a party town - as a Brit coming to America on a regular basis, there is no more welcoming city in America, and there seems to be no city more at peace with what it is. It is a place to work hard and play hard. I knew my background would be out of my focal range, but that helped as It was about the vibe, not the specific individuals - anonymity was important. My instincts were for a busy bar - with a very clear nod to where we were. I want to thank many locals for coming along - including seemingly the whole of the Staubach family. They all added flesh to the bone.
I had deliberated over a reason why the quarterbacks would be sitting directly across the table and both be exactly the same distance from my lens. We decided on a card game as it legitimises their studied behaviour, and a Texas Holdem format added locational bite.
This is a picture made in Dallas and for Dallas. It was a privilege to be involved.