When Texas A&M former student Leslie Mott received a Facebook link from a College Station friend announcing the creation of, and need for, the Maroon Wall of silent tribute to preserve decorum at the funeral of Aggie former student LTC Roy Lin Tisdale, she drove to College Station from Houston to be a part of this historic event. “As soon as I saw the event, I knew it was something I absolutely needed to go to, not just as an Aggie, but as a photojournalist,” said Mott in an interview yesterday.
It took several days to locate Mott, because she was the non-publicity-seeking photographer person who freely shared her work, with no expectation of any recognition, other than capturing the memories of the day. Yet, her photo of the Maroon Wall that is among those that have gone viral on the Internet in recent days, and even found its way to the office of Texas A&M President Dr. R. Bowen Loftin, who sought to share Mott’s photo with others. Thanks to Ryan Slezia—co-creator of the Maroon Wall event, together with Lily McAlister and Chris Rowan—Mott was reached to obtain the original photo. No one could have been more surprised than Mott that her work would find such overwhelming response and accolades.
Of the Maroon Wall photos, Mott says, “I knew this event was something I needed to photograph, but I had no idea the response to my photos would be what it has! I am grateful that those who were not able to go last week have had a chance to see how Aggies stood up for one of our own, and I am honored that people who do not know about Texas A&M University have been able to see the true heart and spirit of Aggieland through my photographs.” The Westboro Baptist Church protestors who had announced their intention to picket the funeral did not appear that day. The Aggie message was received loud and clear.
Mott, a Texas Aggie graduate of the class of 2008, majored in history, and yet she had no idea she would become part of the history of the day. This dynamic young woman is a high school teacher in Houston, and she began her photography business in 2009. “Originally, I took photos of my students’ academic and sporting events to put on one of the bulletin boards on the back wall of my classroom,” says Mott.
“In no time, the collage got out of hand and spread across the entire back wall of the room. The students at my school love it, seeing photos of themselves playing football or soccer.” Mott said sweetly, “They thought they looked like rock stars!”
Based on her students’ enthusiasm, Mott was inspired to invest in a DSLR camera and “my photography seemed to just take off.” She photographs school events, but Mott also has done “a lot of family, newborn and senior portraits as well as local events and urban landscapes in Houston, Galveston and Kemah.”
Leslie Mott has generously shared many of the photos she took at LTC Roy Lin Tisdale’s funeral service at Central Baptist Church in College Station last week. As the saying goes, “a picture is worth 1,000 words,” so view the slide show and see the history of the day, through photographer Leslie Mott’s eyes and camera lens. “Some may boast of prowess bold, of a school they think so grand, but there’s a spirit that’s ne’er been told. It’s the spirit of Aggieland.” The Aggies take care of their own, indeed.