It was May 2004 and there were so many signs in Austin, Texas, I almost ran out of film. Ten years ago I was still shooting old-school, and my slides from my first five-day visit—to the town I now call home—have a rich resonance that I swear is lacking in today’s digital photographs.
I think now that those signs had something to say to me. They all seemed to point me in one direction: West, from Washington, DC, where I’d lived most of my life.
I’ve photographed close to 100 Austin signs since then, for my Vanishing Austin photography series (and many of them on that very first trip in 2004), but the one that convinced me to move to Austin was a temporary sign, set up in front of the Broken Spoke, for a commercial shoot. That evening, the sign wasn’t for real; but it surely could have been, sometime in the Spoke’s past.
Imagine that. You drive up to a honky tonk throwback Texas dance hall in far south Austin, where urban development had not yet occurred to anyone, and you see a sign that says “Willie Nelson Live.” Now that’s a sign. ♣
What’s your favorite Austin memory from times past?
- How the Vanishing Austin project began
- The 99+ photographs in the Vanishing Austin series
- More articles in Vanishing Austin blog series
- The Endangered Species of Austin