art, photography, random thought, travel, writing

new austin skyline

last week, i had a few days of commercial shoots down in austin.  it was great to finally get back down there.

but austin is a rapidly changing city…  understatement of the year.

i’m amazed every time i revisit this old haunt of mine.  i mean, i’m not that old.  am i?

i first moved to austin for college in 1999.  wow… last century, huh?

okay, but in the bigger scheme of things, it wasn’t that long ago.

even still, the skyline is almost unrecognizable now from those days.

at least five of the tallest buildings were not there in 2000…

towering over zilker park.  it’s really shaping up.  from a visual point-of-view at least, it’s kind of growing on me.

from south congress… still a magnificent view.

i must admit, 9 times out of 10, i’d rather see mountains.  and austin as a city has changed in many ways of which i’m not a huge fan.  but i’m not here to bash development or urban growth.

the “progress” of man is not an easy force to stop.  and change isn’t always bad.

i love that austin hasn’t totally lost it’s identity.  it’s still the weirdest, most expressive little city in our fair country.

hippie + cowboy = something pretty damn honest and (at the very least) interesting to look at.

you don’t believe me?  look at Willie.  or perhaps Kinky.  enough said.

now, all we have to do is kick all (literally ALL) of those rotten politicians out and perhaps we’d have quite the utopia…

all images and content © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2011

family, music, random thought, travel, writing

flipnotics again

a mermaid saw a swimming lad,

and picked him up for her own.

pressed her body to his body,

laughing, and plunging down,

forgot in cruel happiness…

that even lovers drown.

It Ain’t Easy (listen)

this bittersweet prose lines the table that i’ve sat at for three days now.

i always enjoy my time in austin, but this time especially, i have had a truly memorable experience.  lounging lazily at barton springs… swimming in her cool, natural waters.  spending time with my brother, his wife, and their three little ones.  enjoying time with my friends, whose lives have hurdled in different directions than my own.  and i feel in love.

austin has pressed her body to mine, and laughingly pulled me under.  i gladly kissed her lips and descended to the depths.

how long must i pretend that i don’t need austin?  how long must i pretend that austin doesn’t need me?

well, it would seem a little while longer.  but i have already drowned…

photography, random thought, travel, writing

keeping austin… something, something

ahhhh… major sigh of relief. i am sitting outside at my favorite coffee shop, flipnotics, uploading a recent magazine assignment, john coltrane playing quietly in the background, sipping my favorite french organic medium roast. it’s dreamy. partly cloudy, 70 degrees. i drove in this morning, so i could get a few last-minute work things done before enjoying the next week in my favorite city in texas – austin.

“i used to live here, you know,” i think jealously to myself. i then bitterly justify why i no longer live in austin, “well, things have changed here anyway.” but that’s not the full truth.

yes, austin has changed. a lot. i can see the new high-rises that tower above town lake. all those damned new york and LA transplants! someone let the secret out about ten years ago, and since then, just like every other cool place in this fair country, it has been slowly californicized.

but i digress. bitterly. so… the real reason i don’t live here anymore is that there simply isn’t enough work for me. i tried to make it here after college. but the work was scarce, and competition fierce. don’t get me wrong, i love competition, but the situation down here is rediculous. a young guy making his start is better of in a larger market where he can establish himself. so I sold out and went to dallas.

and so i’m a little sad. but then i look around… and i remember the good times i had here. i used to spend 8 hours a day, six days a week here at flips. before i had a laptop, i would study, roll my own cigarettes, read thoreau, daydream my time away. it was a time of free thought and incredible amounts of creative expression. granted, much of that expression was destructive, and i no longer “express” in those ways, but it was good. a time that was needed… to get me where i am, and to help me see where i want to go. but austin is like that; it can serve as a helpful transition for many of us.

austin is a place for learning. sometimes for learning about how weird all of us really are. i also learned about what i am not. and that took a long time to come to terms with, but i am happy to be able to say that now.

i miss this place. even when i’m here. so maybe more than a location, for me it was an era. but i feel like i can appreciate it more now for what it is; awesome, and weird as hell. maybe now i can move back and usher in a new era…