Wyman Meinzer is the only official State Photographer of Texas, named so in 1997 by the Texas State Legislature and then Gov. George W. Bush, an honor he still holds today. He was raised on the League Ranch, a 27,000-acre ranch in the rolling plains of Texas. Since then, he has traveled across the state from the Panhandle to the Borderland in South Texas, from El Paso to Nacogdoches and all points in between to capture the first and last rays of sunlight as they kiss the Texas landscapes.
“When the light is right it ignites a fire in me and I never tire of my job. Hell, I love my job, for better or worse and in it’s worse hour, I wouldn’t trade it for doing anything else.”
Meinzer graduated from Texas Tech in 1974 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Management and was voted Outstanding Alumnus in 1987 by the department of Range and Wildlife Management at Texas Tech University. He also received the Distinguished Alumnus award in 1995 from the School of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. Perhaps one of his most treasured honors was to be selected as Mass Communications Teacher of the Year in 2005. In 2009 he received the Distinguished Alumnus award from Texas Tech University in recognition of outstanding achievement and dedicated service.
Meinzer started his career as a professional predator hunter later transitioning as a research associate for the university and now teaches a senior-level course in Special Problems Photography at Texas Tech University in addition to his ongoing book projects and freelance magazine assignments.
After 33 years as a professional photographer, Wyman has photographed and or written 24 plus photography books, and his images have appeared on more than 250 magazine covers as well as on numerous book covers for other authors works. His images have appeared in Smithsonian, National Geographic Books, Natural History, Time, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, Audubon, Sports Afield, Field and Stream, Outdoor life, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Texas Highways, Korea GEO, German GEO, Das Tier, Airone, Horzu, BBC Wildlife, and many others.
Honors include: State Photographer of Texas, the John Ben Sheppard Jr. Award from the Texas State Historical Foundation for contributing to the preservation of Texas History through writing and photography, 1997 National Literary Award for the book, “Texas Lost: Vanishing Heritage” (with Andrew Sansom), the San Antonio Conservation Award for the natural history book, “Roadrunner”, and The A.C. Green Literary Award in 2011.
Meinzer is a self-taught plains historian who lives in Benjamin with his wife, Sylinda, in the old county jail, which he and Sylinda remodeled into a comfortable home. Along with his photography, Meinzer loves hunting and long-range shooting. He frequently shoots a reproduction .50 caliber Sharps buffalo gun at targets as far as 1,000 yards.
David Baxter, former editor of Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine, described Meinzer best when he called him a man with the eye of a nineteenth-century impressionist painter and the soul of a buffalo hunter.