SINCE TAKING HIS first photographs in 1962, Gaylord Oscar Herron has communicated in a visual language equally balanced between people and the cities they inhabit. He describes this as being summoned to a picture, and this mindset lends a naturalness to his work that feels both fateful and inspired.
“Photographers are always accused of finding a picture, nailing it, making a print, and making it available—but they don’t find the picture, the picture finds them,” Herron says. “That’s the thing that I’ve realized recently. The picture is calling you to examine it, to engage with it, and then to maybe even record it, to be a watcher. To be a recorder of visual history, which is like liquid history, like a stream or a river running fast, you reach in and pull out a little drop. It’s as if the picture, the location, and the event come to you and demand that you accept them.”
Known to most Tulsans as G. Oscar, Herron owns and operates a bicycle shop, G. Oscar Bicycles. Located on Main Street just south of downtown, the space is filled with new and vintage bikes. Herron’s photographs line the walls alongside vintage product containers, other historic photos of Tulsa and the world, and bike repair tools.
After returning from military service in Korea in 1964, Herron began taking photographs around Tulsa, though his intent was not to document the city’s history. The importance of hi