SXSW Portraits

       That's a wrap! Another SX is in the books.  Each year the music festival gets a little bit bigger, a little bit more ridiculous and personally, I find myself a little more disconnected from the whole mess of it.  That may be because it's lost a bit of it's mystique, given how easy it is for a local to attend, or it may be the fact that it is overrun with corporate sponsors who don't care about the band.  They do, however, care immensely for the people who love and religiously follow those bands.  They call these people "markets", they like how that sounds.

      Anywho, my SXSW '15 was spent away from the madness.  Last year, I finished my photo gigs and headed to the Grand Canyon for a week.  This year, I weathered the storm in South Austin.  Although I was almost three miles from the nearest SXSW Official Venue, businesses in my area were still charging "SXSW prices".  They probably raised taco prices in San Marcos, too.  smh

      It wasn't until the final two days of SX that I decided to go out, to go adventure.  My first night out, I caught some music, but none of the free food and drink that SX is/was known for.  The next night I struggled to find the motivation to leave the house.  Finally, I packed my camera bag and headed to Austin's notorious Dirty 6th St.  My goal was to capture the chaos, and the people who make up that chaos.  

And here they are...

One of the first people I met was Larry, Larry Wilkerson.  I've met Larry before.  He's a war vet who proudly flies the American flag any opportunity he can get.  The last time I met him he was at the corner of 7th and Congress on a hot summer's day, flying his flag.  Just because it was a Tuesday, or a reason of similar importance.

I commented on his glasses, he said someone just gave them to me.  I took his photo.  He told me he had a Facebook, and asked me to tag him.


I walked up to the door guy at one of the bars and asked if could take his photo.  He said sure, took a drag of his cigarette and prepared to pose.  Action photos are often my favorites.  They have the ability to tell a story with a single image.  So I asked the door guy to take another drag of his cigarette and I would photograph his exhale.  He agreed, he took a drag, and exhaled in an unnatural fashion.  Creating the most ridiculous duck face.  The guy next to him (the guy in the photo), interjected.  "Na, man, let me show you how to do it."  I held the light above his head and captured this image.

It's funny, earlier in the evening when I began taking photos, I was hesitant to ask people for their photos.  I assumed most would say no, and feared some would even be confrontational.  To my surprise, it wasn't long before people we asking me to photograph them.  

I met this girl while walking east on 6th St.  I took a couple of photos of her.  Each, she was unimpressed with.  "Can you get a photo of my outfit?" she said.  I backed up, took this, and she was happy.  

Then she told me she was a model and asked for my card.  My camera bag was packed with business cards, unfortunately none of them said Alex Hopes Photography.  They instead had a photo of a blonde beagle and a link my My Regal Beagle on Instagram.  I gave it to her.  She was impressed.


This is one of my favorite images from the night.  Mostly because I'm only pretty sure it's Jamie Foxx.

There was this guy, who was standing by himself outside a bar.  Posted up against the wall, minding his own business.  Of course, I had to walk over and ask him if I could take his picture.  He looked at me with one of those "what's the catch?" type of looks.  

I showed him some images that I had taken previously, and then he agreed.  But only if I would take one of his cards and support his music on Facebook.  I agreed, and took this picture.  Maybe it'll be his next album cover, and I'll get some royalties when he blows up...?  I'll keep you posted.

There was this guy, who didn't communicate with me much more than a head nod.  He was bundled pretty tightly, even though it was 60º outside.  I'm not completely sure what is job was, maybe crowd control?  In any case, he was clearly doing it well.  His street was safe and without issue.

Encountered this guy, who was at SX promoting his dog kennel.  He brought proof of his product.  As you can probably imagine, this dog was a popular dude.  I'm pretty sure his name was Maxwell, or I just made that name up right now.    

I'm really happy I ran into this guy.  Mostly because of his beard, eyes and hat. And shirt.  Are those whales?  So SXSW.

While I was taking photos, I was doing a lot of posing.  More or less I was just asking people to "look into the light".  They were often happy with the results.

Here are a few more of my favorite images from the night.  If you'd like to view the entire album, click on the link below...

SXSW Portraits