Stautberg’s subject is the Texas landscape, and her lens turns to her immediate surroundings, the Texas Gulf Coast. The Gulf Coast is a complicated location. It is an industrial panorama, with oil rigs and shipping ports interspersed with shabby vacation homes. The beaches are anything but pristine, with cars and trucks driving on the sand. Palm trees are as tall as the electric poles at their sides. However, amidst this landscape is a dominant beauty—the Texas sky and its reflection in the Gulf Coast.
This contradiction is what Stautberg captures with her camera, avoiding romanticism and nostalgia while still presenting a sense of time and place. 5/28/97, PM, Texas Coast depicts an abandoned rowboat overturned on the beach. The background is dominated by an eerie sky, its gray clouds painted a muddy blue to heighten the emotional character of the natural surroundings. 3/20/97, PM, Texas Coast shows a fire on the beach, but not the expected happy family campfire—rather, Stautberg presents a seemingly violent, accidental fire. Stautberg’s honest and haunting images reflect the authenticity of the Texas landscape, an ever evolving visual and cultural experience.