‘I feel very happy for them’: Mother of Dallas’ Wilson brothers reflects on their career


Laura Wilson is an acclaimed photographer and the mother of three of Dallas’ most well-known actors.

DALLAS — Laura Wilson is an award-winning photographer who’s captured subjects ranging from movie stars to cowboys, and best-selling authors to local high-schoolers. During her career, she estimates she’s taken millions of pictures. But her best photos may be the snapshots she’s taken of her family.

“Photography allows one to hold on to what’s important in one’s life,” she says at her Dallas home. “I couldn’t miss. I mean, how could I not take good pictures? They were so great.”

Wilson says her three boys were ideal subjects, even if they weren’t always willing. Nevertheless, their mom’s work behind the camera may have helped them learn to make a career in front of it. Because today, her Dallas-born sons Andrew, Luke and Owen Wilson are Hollywood stars.

“They seemed to me to be very comfortable in front of the camera right from the beginning,” Wilson says. “So maybe it did help them. I hope it helps.”

Wilson says she was first exposed to photography as a child. Her mother made a habit of taking family photos, keepsakes for posterity. And each year her parents would get books of photography, compilations of the best work from the past year. She’d read those books cover to cover, absorbing images from award-winning photographers, helping hone the eye that would later define her career.

Watch our extended conversation with Laura Wilson:

Wilson spent years as an assistant to celebrated photographer Richard Avadon, further focusing her passion for the art form. Her specialty? Portraits.

“I always am interested in photographing people. That’s what I feel my strength is,” Wilson says. “I always like it and I get excited. It is a tremendous jolt of energy.”

But one place Wilson says she feels especially at home is around Hollywood’s cameras, photographing life behind the scenes on movie sets.  


“I’m never bored on a movie set because it’s a fantastic place to be as a photographer,” she says. “One is around enormously talented people, the cinematographers, the costumers, the lighting people. I mean, they are great to be around. They’re hard working. They’re always the best at what they do.”

Of course, being on those movie sets allows Wilson some extra time around her sons, a place where her passion for photography meets their passion for filmmaking.

“I mean, how often do you get to do something like, as each of them are getting to do?” she asks. “I feel very happy for them.”


Despite her long career, several books and those millions of photos, Wilson shows no signs of slowing down. Why would she, when there are still so many more books to create and pictures to take?

“I’m always stunned when people ask ‘why are you still taking pictures?’ What else would I be doing? I feel lucky to be strong and energetic and hopeful,” she says. “And I think there are two things that you need to be a creative person. You need hope and you need energy. And I feel I have both.”