When I drove to Texas from California during the last week of July 2016, I told everyone I was going on a road trip with my mom and two dogs. I didn’t share that I was planning to “test the waters” in Houston. After about a year, I finally relinquished the hold on my Arts District loft in Los Angeles. I really knew that H-Town was home after Hurricane Harvey hit, and my so-called “test of the waters” became real.

When I first arrived in H-Town, I noticed the light was different. The trees are enormous (two to four stories high and higher!) and there were many, creating lots of shade. My heart was in a different place, too so it took me awhile to start shooting photographs again. While I became @HTownMuse almost immediately, it took me several months to find myself again and to figure out how to take a photograph well in the shadows and through the glare of the strong sunshine.

All images by Melissa Richardson Banks. © All rights reserved.