In 2008, as today, the building cranes loomed everywhere in Austin, giving us an unusual skyline. It was hard to avoid casting them as characters in my Vanishing Austin photographs—a series I began in 2004 that lent itself to a juxtaposition of old and new Austin. So when the snake that graced the east side of Ranch 616 (above) appeared to have a visceral reaction to the cranes, the image embodied my concept for my visual journey through Austin’s transition. I called the photo Dueling Threats. Even then, I wondered who was winning.
Then, as now, it’s the tall towers that mock the scale of the architectural ambiance thriving so far beneath them. Still, I’m rootin’ for the little guy—like the Tiniest Bar in Texas. Whose owners claim they’re makin’ a stand, right there amidst all the high-rise action on West 5th Street, in the shadow of the Monarch.
Left, Tiny Bar, Tall Tower. Right, Until the Bitter End by Jann Alexander ©2010
In the Warehouse District, cranes were once reflected back in the existing (and modestly tall) high-rises, which have themselves been overtaken by newer and taller skyscrapers further to the east. Do they provide an artsy backdrop to an older block that still stands? I’m not so sure. Then, I would have said, here’s to a fight until the Bitter End.
These days, I merely sigh—and perhaps like you—admit, that Austin is what it is. Tall. ♣
What’s your take on Austin’s tall towers?
- 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
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Updated from the original post, May 1, 2008.