Photographer Chases ‘Steeples of Texas’

Wesley Brethren in Wesley is among the churches featured in Steeples of Texas. (Photo: Melissa Macatee)

On the backroads of Texas while singing to herself during yet another road trip, Melissa Macatee found the inspiration to turn her decade-long interest in church steeples into a book.

“About two and half years ago, I was driving to Austin on my way to see my son and I came across this church,” she said. “That’s when I thought, ‘That’s it; I have to do it.’”

Macatee, a freelance photographer for Park Cities People, among other publications, had spent years researching church steeples and their history. She traveled across Texas to produce her book, visiting hundreds of churches along the way.

Steeples of Texas, which features more than 100 Texas churches in 168 pages, was released this fall.

“It’s a history of Texas, and it’s a history of its people,” Macatee said.

The native Texan attributes her deep appreciation for her state and its history to her family’s roots. Her interest in photography also began young. Growing up, she always had a camera in hand and was the one her family turned to for anything photo-related.

Macatee’s new book explores the history and beauty of 100-plus churches. (Photo: Melissa Macatee)

“I was always the weirdo with the camera,” she said, explaining that photography puts her at ease, brings her therapeutic relief, and gives her an opportunity to experience and see new things.

“With a camera in my hand, I have something between me and people,” she said.

She didn’t initially pursue photography as a career. Instead, after graduating college with a business degree, Macatee worked long hours at a stock brokerage firm until becoming a stay-at-home mom.

Later, she was approached with an opportunity to photograph a football game. Football was something she had always loved, so she jumped at the chance and began a new career as a sports photographer.

“It was a way for me to be in the action without being in the action,” she said.

Her love of photography has opened many doors, from meeting new people like Laura Bush, Archie Manning, and Ricky Williams to traveling to remote areas of Texas and exploring its history.

“My whole world was right here in Dallas, and this was a way for me to see new parts of Texas,” Macatee said. “It was a fun adventure.”

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