Espinosa’s Stone Yard

Al Billings

I shot these photos at the Espinosa Stone Corporation’s processing yard near Jarrell, Texas, in 2009. Espinosa’s property encompasses several hundred acres, and sufficient monster-sized trucks and skid-loaders to rebuild the Aswan Dam. There’s a crisp, no-nonsense clarity to the operation. Firm-jawed operatives quickly take your order, you dicker, and bam! Load it up and move it out!

I rode out to the stone yard with my friend and expert stone mason Cristobal Garcia, a native of Aguascalientes, a large city in northern west Mexico. A mangy pit bull followed me closely, growling whenever I came to a stop. I could shut him up by throwing rocks at him, be he’d be right back behind me in a minute. Various other functionaries kept an eye on us as we made our way through the yard.

Chris had taken me along so I could select various slabs of white limestone destined to line the sides of a man-made creek I designed for a client. I’m a landscape gardener, and my cover story was that I was riding along to make sure we picked out the right stone, but Chris doesn’t really need for me to go there with him. We use the travel time to shoot the breeze and discuss the various injustices we suffer in the name of artistic self-expression, and he puts up with my need to photograph anything that strikes my interest. Chris is fairly certain that I’m loco. He wants to make money, and I want to make art. I suspect that Chris has the better business plan.

-Al Billings

May 23, 2011 2:05 pm

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