Austin Is a Town of Continual Juxtaposition

Vanishing Austin_Overtowering Sandy's by Jann Alexander © 2013

Overtowering Sandy’s by Jann Alexander © 2013

There’s no shortage of colorful contrast in Austin, and there hasn’t been in a long long time. Juxtaposition is Austin’s middle name these days, and figures prominently in my Vanishing Austin series as the most striking way to show our recent urban history. Here’s a selection of images that shout out Austin’s more recent juxtapositions (a tongue-twisting word that simply means “the act of placing things side by side, especially for the purpose of comparison or contrast”)—and thanks to the magic of the telephoto lens, I can truly place things side by side for contrast, even when they’re separated by a lake, as is Sandy’s Frozen Custard from the Now Leasing Condos with Crane in the image above. ♦


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Endangered Species of Austin, poster by Jann Alexander © 2009

Endangered Species of Austin poster

Shop my Vanishing Austin series: While many Austin landmarks are lost, many are survivors still. Admire them all in a slideshow, HERE. Prints start at $35.

You can marvel at what’s lost and what’s survived in my Endangered Species of Austin poster, featuring 16 Austin icons, and sized at a handsomely large 24 x 36,” available for $25, HERE.

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22 replies

  1. I found the ‘Duelling Threats’ image particularly striking – especially as the snake had been made from existing items. Sometimes, in the process of urban renewal, the new-builds are so sleek that they seem to say little about the area and make little attempt to incorporate or relate to what was there before.


    • Thanks for visiting and for your insights on urban growth–lamentable enough, but the positive is that the carelessness gives us juxtapositions!

      There’s a fun story associated with that snake–hissing, I like to think, at the new condos rising awkwardly out of balance beyond him. He was made by a famous Texas folk artist, Bob “Daddy” O’Wade, for a uniquely-Austin restaurant, and sadly, is now hidden from view by an outdoor tent the owners erected. The photograph caught the attention of an art collector who’d just bought a condo in the “new-build” pictured; he purchased it to decorate his living area. The irony was not lost on him.


  2. I’m so excited to have wandered onto your blog! I lived in Austin for about two years but moved away to go to graduate school. I worked at South Congress Cafe for a little over a year. I miss that town so much! I’m excited to read up on my favorite city but sad to hear that so many things have changed since I’ve left.


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