All the cool kids in town were in the same place Saturday night — Empire Control Room — for an electric local lineup featuring Blastfamous USA and friends Mobley, Fort Never and BLXPLTN. The politically charged bill provided one of the most dynamic performances I've had the fortune of photographing. I'll let the images speak for themselves.
I had the wonderful experience of planning Precision Camera's second-ever concert photography class and show at the Mohawk in downtown Austin. The show went off without a hitch on Wednesday, June 27, and we had a fantastic class led by talented local concert shooter Katrina Barber. Elevaded performed a private set for the class and then the venue opened up at 9 p.m. for a show with Elevaded, MIDDLESPOON and Fragile Rock.
Socks are Murder
Fragile Rock is a unique idea that works so much better in reality that you would ever expect it to. The self-described emo puppet band features a three-piece band of humans cloaked behind the puppet band that includes a lead man, guitar, base, drums, backup singers and the most polished stage banter you have ever heard.
What could be a gimmick that gets old after the first song is anything but. It's easy to get lost in the band's dynamic stage presence and theatrics — and puppet guitar solos.
While too busy with the logistics of helping to teach and make sure the evening moved along smoothly to shoot more of the awesome lineup. I did manage to grab the awesome guys from MIDDLESPOON for a very quick portrait. I used constant lights, a way I don't normally shoot, and wasn't super stoked about the results. But I did manage to get at least one keeper. I hope to shoot with these talented and well-styled gentlemen again soon in a bit more controlled of a setting.
I had the great pleasure of following along with SIGNY for the tiniest little tour supporting Nashville act The Roosevelts for two shows in three days. The first night was at the White Oak Music Hall in Houston on Wednesday, May 30, and then we were back Friday, June 1, at The Parish in ATX.
Houston, the White Oak and real green rooms
The White Oak Music Hall is a massive venue with three stages. They have a MASSIVE outdoor stage, a huge indoor room and then a smaller upstairs room.
The night SIGNY played, Matisyahu was also performing. He was on the big stage inside and no one was playing the huge outdoor stage. In a surreal moment, we parked our little convoy of an SUV and a Mazda 3 next to the huge tour busses of Mayisyahu and company.
The room that SIGNY and The Roosevelts played in was a great size - about the same as the inside of Red River clubs - and was beautifully lit and had great sound. It was covered in, well, white oak of course.
The White Oak took great care of us and provided an actual green room with booze, a bathroom and a shower. The Roosevelts are awesome guys and we had a good time hanging with them around the sets. We got to spend much more time hanging with them at the Parish and I'm going to say it again - they're good dudes.
The girls had a great set, as usual, and definitely got some new fans.
Matisyahu and Sneaking Back Stage
While the girls were performing, me and my pal Sam snuck backstage for the last song of Matisyahu's set. The venue had gotten pretty used to us roaming around, and we had about figured out how to get around through the back passages.
We caught about 15 minutes of the band sound checking earlier in the night, and Sam had inadvertently found the back stage door for the main stage even earlier then that - while we were loading in gear for the girls. No one with the venue ever gave us a second look during these events. So, by time Matisyahu was on - and we had a few drinks in us - we figured what's the worst that can happen.
We walked through some doors and found ourselves directly side stage next to the sound and light guys. Sam went further back stage and was right where the band came off. He made sure to tell the rapper "good show."
I got some great shots from my side stage vantage point.
Back Home: The Parish in Austin
On Friday night, we were back home at The Parish in Austin for a C3 show. Vincent with C3 did a great job and the Parish also had an actual green room with some snacks, booze a shower and bathroom. We had a ton of time to kick it with the Roosevelts and even managed some green room portraits after SIGNY's set.
The girls had an even better set and sold some merch. It was a good time.
I actually had some time to shoot The Roosevelts on Friday night. They had a great set laced with tons of great originals and fun covers. If you get a chance to see 'em, do.
It's Been a Hard Year
The day after seeing Run The Jewels last April at Fortress Festival, I went to go visit my parents. My dad had mentioned on the phone the day before that he was losing his balance, and it concerned me deeply. My anxiety finally got on top of me, and I got up and drove to my parent's house.
When I got there, my father stood up to greet me and immediately stumbled sideways and fell back on the couch. My mom, concerned, looked on from the other side of the house. She had been worried for a couple weeks, but he kept insisting he was fine, she said. He would go to the doctor on Monday, he said. I called 911.
Two hours later, an asshole of an ER doctor that I will never forget told me and my mom that my dad has cancer like it was an expensive car repair. A large mass was in his lung, and there were spots on his brain that were probably affecting his balance. That's all he knew.
I held my dad's hand while that prick broke the news to him. I'll never forget.
That began what has unquestionably been the most difficult year of my entire life. Maybe one day I'll try to describe the anxiety, fear, anger, depression and fog that losing a parent is. I don't think I have energy now.
On my birthday, March 27, I got the call from my mom that if I wanted to have some more time with my dad while he was still responsive, I should make the three-hour drive from Austin to the Dallas/Fort-Worth suburb that I grew up in the next day.
I had been visiting essentially every other weekend since the diagnosis and had been in DFW for several days before heading back home to have a birthday dinner. I didn't expect to get called back immediately.
I got back into DFW on a Wednesday with my wonderful, supportive girlfriend, Delaney, and had two more good nights with my dad — moments I will cherish forever.
Delaney is an amazing musician and my dad loved music, playing guitar and his guitars especially. She played him a couple songs — Such Great Heights by the Postal Service and Long Gone Lonesome Blues by Hank Williams — on one of his favorite guitars.
By this point, his vision and hearing was all but gone. But Delaney's music got through. He was tapping his foot and his hands. It was one of his best, final moments. They had a chat about the guitar. That night, I helped my dad to bed and he told me he loved me.
We chose to do in-house hospice, once the doctors decided that treatments were no longer effective. A process that began in mid February very slowly. Initially, it was a visit or two a week from a nurse and that was fine. My dad was mobile, had an appetite and wasn't in pain.
As we moved through March, he began to decline — quickly. His balance got worse and worse, and he lost weight. Eventually, his vision began to go. He developed a lazy eye, and then his hearing started to go. As he declined, he started to have some really tough falls. As he got weaker, he was unable to help my mom get him back up. His arms were destroyed by the falls and covered in bandages.
By the week of my birthday, things had gotten to a critical point. My dad was so weak. He could barely walk with the help of a walker and had to have two or three people to help him. The case manager for our hospice was an RN, Gary, and he did nothing. It was impossible to get him to visit. When he did, it was for 15 minutes, and he wouldn't check the bandages covering his battered arms.
My dad was too weak to shower, and hadn't had one in days despite us asking over and over for help. I got fed up and made a call to the hospice's office about our situation, and was able to get a nurse over to help us look at my dad's dressings.
We were saved. Our desperate cries fell on the right ears and a new caseworker, Laura, showed up on Thursday. Laura was our savior.
Around 5'7", impeccably dressed with Apple Air Pod wireless earphones hidden under her hair, Laura whipped around the house like a whirlwind. She immediately started asking questions about everything from the hierarchy of the family to my dad's condition and everything in between. She ordered us a hospital bed, got us tons of supplies, loved on the dogs and answered all our questions over and over again. She accepted coffee when we offered and gave us hugs when we broke down crying. She was there for probably two hours and ended the visit by asking if we like banana bread.
We looked at each other bleary eyed and confused and remained silent for probably a minute.
She grabbed the overly ripe bananas sitting on the counter and said she would be back with banana bread.
Later that day, a hospital bed showed up and we helped my dad make his final walk to his deathbed which was now set up in the living room of my childhood home.
The Bitter End
The weekend marked our last weekend on our own. Laura would be back Monday, and aid would be by too to help with a shower.
Dad was mostly unresponsive. He was not eating and we were giving him morphine and Xanax to help keep him comfortable. You could get through to him now and again, when we had what would be his last few moments of clarity. It was Saturday that I got the final "I love You" from my dad. I will never forget his final action was to applaud Delaney singing him another rendition of Hank William's Long Gone Lonesome Blues.
When the song ended, as though waking from a sudden sleep, he raised his battered hands and tried to bring them together. He missed, but he was trying. It would be the last thing he did.
My mom, my aunt and I began taking five hour shifts over night to stay by his side. I got great peace in my night shifts playing guitar, talking to my dad and listing to the radio. We were monitoring his breathing and waiting.
By Tuesday, Laura initiated continuous care — a nurse by his side 24 hours.
The Worst Groundhog Day
This began the hardest part of the process — Hell's Groundhog Day. We were only saved by another nurse — Lisa. Lisa was our countrified daytime CC nurse. She had the 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. shift and carried us through the hardest week of my life with stories of the ranch she lived on 30-minutes outside of town.
As she sat in my mom's living room and helped us care for my dad, she became part of our family. She knew our dogs like you wouldn't believe. She would make sure me and my mom were eating. She guided us through the process and helped us to get sleep and keep our sanity. I will never forget her.
These days were endlessly long. My dad was on oxygen, unresponsive, not eating and just had nothing left to his once hearty frame. Each day we were sure it was the last day, and he would just hold on.
The evening cc nurse was not as good as Lisa, but would at least allow us to get some sleep and would alert us if anything changed. For three nights I went to sleep waiting for a terrible knock to wake me. And three odd mornings came where he was still holding on. It went on and on and I unraveled.
Delaney, my girlfriend, has known me for about a year. I met her shooting photographs of her band for a local music blog. We began dating early in the year and from the beginning I told her my dad was sick. She stuck with me despite all the anxiety and sadness. And she did something I never expected from anyone - she stayed by my side through this whole trial. She poured endless effort into taking care of my mother and me, and she put her life on hold to do it. I owe her a debt that I can never repay, but I'm going to try.
On Friday night we got a new night nurse and his name was — I'm not making this up — Divine. He smoked like a chimney and played guitar quietly while he watched over my dad. They would have been fast friends.
Early that morning, I finally got that terrible knock. Riley Holder, my father, passed at 5 a.m. on Saturday, April 7. I watched his final breath.
I had every opportunity to say goodbye to my father. I took those opportunities and take great peace in that.
Things I Learned from Dad
The most important thing I learned from my father was how to be a good man and do the right thing. My entire life, he tought me the virtues of standing up for those that can't stand up for themselves, of being honest and following through with your word, of finishing what you start and doing the right thing — even if that is not the easy thing.
My sister, Sara, is a drug addict. My family has done everything in our power to provide her the means for recovery. And time after time, she does everything she can to subvert the system, break the rules, manipulate those around her, and she has no desire to get better at this time.
Her first daughter, Caroline, is now 8 and has been under the care of my parents since day one. He never flinched at taking on that burden. That's just one example.
I also learned how to play guitar, how to work with my hands, how to change brake pads, how to file taxes and countless other things that only a father can teach a son.
An amateur photographer himself his whole life, he instilled my passion for photography and dove into those first lessons about aperture, shutter speed and ISO. He gave me my first camera - a Canon AE1 - that sits on a shelf in my living room.
Most importantly, he understood and supported me when I chose to pursue photography in college and again and again in the professional world.
I love my dad, and I miss him so very much. Saying goodbye this year has been so hard.
Don't be Scared — GO
Most people give you this look when you say you’re going to Mexico City, like you’re crazy — or just stupid. Here’s the deal, if you stay in the right neighborhoods, you can walk freely through the night without a care in the world. Just like any city, there are good parts and bad parts.
CDMX - like “NYC” for New York - is a beautiful city that has this great mix of European and North American feel. The city is simultaneously modern and ancient.
It’s a photographer’s paradise with beautiful light - thanks to layers of smog - mixed with vibrant colors and greenery poking in from all angels. The people are friendly, helpful and tolerant — even if you don’t speak the language.
Conversion Rates are the Best
When I arrived in the Mexico City airport, clearing customs was a breeze. White Boy Privilege allows me to filter like a ghost through airports. Border control agents pass me through with a minimal glance. It’s the most bizarre feeling.
Once out of customs, I called up an Uber and was quoted “$155.” I freaked out for a few minutes, googled and made sure that I was going to the right neighborhood, Roma Norte. I was.
Delaney, my lovely girlfriend who encouraged me to come along to CDMX and has been before, told me before that the Ubers were cheap - “like 3 bucks to get around town,” she said.
I quickly cobbled together a new Plan. I’ll just split this Uber with Delaney and our friends Sam and Amy when they arrive in about two hours. In the meantime, I’ll grab a bite to eat.
I pop into a coffee shop and look down at a can of Coke with a price tag that says “$20.” HELLO! Conversion rates, Casey. You’re not in Kansas anymore. Who was the guy that decided to just use the American Dollar Sign for freaking pesos? That Uber from the airport to my AirBnB my was actually about $8.60.
Our AirBnB was an awesome condo in the Roma Norte neighborhood. It had a security desk manned 24-hours, codes to get into the building and into our condo, and it was gorgeous. Our condo was on the third floor, had two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a projector screen and huge windows that opened up. It was very stylishly decorated with a mirror hung on one of the turquoise walls with the message “You look so COOL” spray painted in pink over it. It only cost the four of us $50 each for three nights.
My First Earthquake
While waiting for my friends to arrive, I ventured outside to take some pictures. The golden light spilling down the street in front of our AirBnB was some of the prettiest I have ever seen and is featured in a ton of my images.
I made it maybe two blocks around the neighborhood when I look up from taking a picture of something and see a man standing across the street on the sidewalk just staring up at the building behind me. Fascinated with this, I snap a picture. Then I notice people pouring out of all the nearby buildings dragging pets and children with them.
They gather in a mass in the center of an open parking lot with fear evident on their faces. Then I feel it. The earth began to shift like water under my feet as though I was suddenly on the deck of a boat. Not knowing how to react, I fired off a text message to Delaney who was in an Uber across town - “What the Fuck!?,” is all I can manage to compose.
I immediately snap into photojournalist mode and begin snapping pictures.
I fond out about 15 minutes later that a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck 220 miles south of Mexico City, in Oaxaca. Mexico’s advanced earthquake warning system set alarms off in the buildings giving people a 45-second head start. The quake didn’t do any damage in CDMX but was strong enough to shake the buildings, kick up a lot of dust and spook an already on-edge city.
About six-months prior to our visit, a big earthquake hit the city directly and killed hundreds and brought down schools and other buildings. People just stayed in the streets for hours after it hit, too nervous to venture back into their buildings.
Roaming the Streets — Roma, Condesa and Polanco
We spent nearly our entire trip in the neighborhoods of Roma Norte, Condesa and Polanco which are all beautiful and have their own unique feel. They all touch and bleed from one to another and you can easily catch an Uber for $3 from one to the next.
For the most part, we just roamed around and found things that interested us visually.
We had a lovely Sushi dinner and lots and lots of drinks on the rooftop of the famous Condesa DF Hotel and had the coolest waiter. This will be a theme, but a dinner that should have cost $500 or more here was actually about $50 per person.
Mexico City in interlaced with these beautiful green spaces that break up the city and make it so beautiful.
Here is Delaney on our first morning roaming around the city having the "best Americano ever."
While we sat outside of the cafe, there were several different busking musicians that would hang and play. Always the sucker for a cello, I couldn't help but film this guy for a moment. You can also see someone selling palm leaves or something in the background. People came by the whole time we were sitting there selling handmade toys, giant rugs and everything in between.
The Arctic Bar
The Arctic Bar was something that Sam found in his research, and it's exactly what it sounds like. It's a two-room night club where one room is really a huge walk-in freezer they have converted into a bar that is complete with couches made of ice, ice sculptures and this foam that kind of resembles snow covering the diamond plate floor. We rode the elevator up after paying a MEX$180 ($10) cover to get in.
The first room is just like any other club. It was loud, they had tables, offered bottle service and people were dancing to a live DJ. At first, we though we had to buy a bottle, but they were just saying we had to buy drinks to post up at a table. We just wanted to go check out the actual Arctic part of the Arctic Bar that we had read about.
We figured out after ordering some crappy mojitos, that you just had to go to the back part of the club to get into the cold room. At the back, there was a huge freezer door and and an attendant handing out full-length white parkas - the type you see people exploring the arctic in. We tipped the attendant and went in.
While the normal part of the club was bumping, the cold room was abandoned. Besides the four of us, there was just a bartender. I think the novelty had worn off for the locals.
We immediately dropped our coats to do some quick drunken photos and burnt our buns on the ice couch.
After our photo shoot, we had a shot of tequila becuase duh and then got outta there.
More Street Roaming
Final Dinner at the Four Seasons
We capped our final night in CDMX with an amazing dinner and some drinks at the Four Seasons in Polanco. Our waiter was flawless, our food was amazing and it cost about $30 a person in one of the most stunning settings I have ever eaten in. The bathroom had single-use cotton linens to dry your hands with. Come on!
Excuse the noise, but it was worth showing. We had amazing cocktails and a real cuban cigar to wrap the trip. The dude in the picture above was roasting the cedar plank for my bourbon cocktail. Sam had a drink that was garnished with these huge ants - like actual ants.
We had an amazing time in this wonderful city and our already planning our next trip and seeking clients out. Stay tuned for more from our new favorite foreign port.
Ciudad De Mexico
Mexico City is massive — there are more people in Ciudad De Mexico then New York City. The city is stunning and feels both ancient and hyper modern at the exact same time. With such a vibrant urban environment comes a wonderful selection of interesting and dynamic individuals to document.
The CDMX streets are colorful, vibrant and active with greenery creeping into the city from all angles. There is a special quality to the light. As it filters through the layers of smog covering the city and through the overhanging greenery then finally into the streets, it takes on this amazing golden, diffused quality like nothing I have ever seen before.
I had the great pleasure of exploring the city for a long weekend from Feb. 16 to Feb. 19 with my girlfriend, Delaney, her bandmate, Amy, and Amy’s boyfriend Sam — all of whom are incredible musicians. Delaney had been to the city before, but for the rest of us it was our first time.
Soul Stealing Abroad
I fell in love with the people, the attitudes, the food, the culture, the affordability and will be writing another post very soon about the trip in general with more dazzling photos. Today, I want to share some of the off-camera flash portraiture I worked on while in the city along with some technique and with some behind-the-scenes photos to show how it’s all done.
Sunday afternoon, I roamed the streets of the beautiful Mexico City neighborhood of Condesa with my affordable and portable LumiQuest softbox to get some street portraits and continue my “Soul Stealing” project.
The project is ongoing, but in short I'm using my camera to capture the "souls" from the interesting characters I encounter.
My technique is pretty simple, and the LumiQuest Softbox fits in perfectly with the way I work. I simply fold up the softbox and slide it into the laptop compartment of my backpack. I have a cheap and cheerful Yungnuo Speedlight and master control unit that allows me to control the flash power and zoom of the head remotely and a foldable, lightweight flash stand — and of course my camera rig, a Fujifilm X-T2 and 16-55 mm f2.8.
I carried this equipment around all day without any problems and got some amazing shots with my tiny, portable studio. It took about 15 minutes to setup and I could fold the stand down, leave the softbox and flash setup and just throw it over my shoulder while we walked.
As far as shooting technique goes, I just underexpose my background and use the flash for a little bit of soft fill light to correctly expose my subject.
I'm usually shooting in the lowest native ISO my camera will allow — ISO 200 — at the maximum flash sync shutter speed of 1/250th of a second. I often use a four-stop neutral density filter to help bring down my ambient exposure even more. I then use the flash to light my subject to taste.
I use the flash power output, the camera's aperture and the distance of the flash from the subject to control the exposure of the subject. I try to keep my aperture around f5.6 to f8 to get a nice creamy background yet still give me enough depth of field to allow a sharp focus on my subject so that it really stands out.
Check out my behind the scenes photos for a look at light placement.
The dog culture is Mexico City is popping and there were dogs and dog owners out everywhere walking, hanging at the patios of cafes and restaurants and inside the stores and shops. For whatever reason, they happened to be really into having their picture made.
I did encounter a language problem. Having a pretty girl with me and the flash setup did inspire confidence in people and helped bridge some of the gap. I would approach people and ask "Un photo?" and for the most part get a "si" in return.
The Traveling Party
Along with the soul stealing, I had the pleasure of traveling with some beautiful people and took every advantage to drag them into portraits to document their wonderful style against the marvelous background of Mexico City.
My LumiQuest softbox was an invaluable tool for portrait making while roaming the streets of Mexico City. It's lightweight enough to carry around all day, affordable enough to replace if it's stolen or knocked over and creates a unique quality of light. I feel like I've just scratched the surface with this setup. Stay tuned as I continue to use this rig to capture the amazing souls I encounter as I explore in both in Austin and abroad.
We fell so deeply in love with CDMX that we're looking at getting a part-time apartment there. So, I will likely have many more souls to share from this wonderful city. Stay tuned for big things and my struggle to learn Spanish.
I've Been Busy
A lot has happened in the new year and almost all of it revolves around the spectacular Austin pop-duo SIGNY. I first photographed them for OVRLD late in 2017. It sparked a wonderful friendship that's lead to me photographing promo material for their single, "Human," — which dropped Jan. 26 — their 7-inch vinyl single, more of their fantastic live shows and behind the scenes of their two-day music video shoot for "Human." And there's more to come.
Shooting "Human" Cover
We shot the cover art for human and some promo work late in December of 2017 at Precision Camera's studio in North Austin — where I work. I would say I really got to know Delaney and Amy, AKA SIGNY, during this shoot. They had hired me a few weeks prior to do a photoshoot for their Halloween blog post and to help promote a Halloween show at Swan Dive. I was pretty excited that they were hiring me for another shoot, and also pretty nervous.
The taller of the duo, Delaney, directed the shoot and wanted a Terry Richardson look with the shadow that tightly hugs the subject and that kind of "gotcha" raw feel. I think it's safe to say we achieved it.
The shot above with the Solo cups and wine straws is my favorite from the session. It was a happy accident that evolved out of a desire to get some wine flowing to loosen inhibitions. After a quick run across the street to Wal-Mart, we had wine and cups. Amy had emergency wine straws at hand — one should always be prepared to drink wine and not mess up their makeup. When we saw how cool the red looked, it made it into the shot.
Human Video Shoot: Behind the Scenes
SIGNY also shot a music video for Human. I was lucky enough to be hired to shoot behind the scenes photos of this process. The video is being edited now and will premiere very soon. Check out the sneak peak HERE.
Producers Keller Davis and Jensen Yancey of Escape Plan Productions, shot the video at two locations on two different shoot days. The first shoot was at the Precision Camera studio, and involved puppies, macaroons, dodge balls, pillow fights — which nearly gave me an anxiety attack, lots of dancing, lip syncing some more wine in solo cups and much more.
The second shoot we did was at the 21st Street Co-Op near the UT Campus. If you have never been to an Austin co-op, they're a pretty unique setup. They are community housing arrangements — often older apartment buildings — that are owned by a non-profit organization and operated and governed by the tenants — often college students. This leads to interesting arrangements and liberal "rules." For instance, their website boasts "Ours is also the only clothing-optional co-op in the College Houses system."
The crux of this second shoot was to create a live music, party vibe. 21st Street Co-Op has a big party room with a bar and a stage, and that's where we were shooting. Some of the tenants set up a bar and were slinging drinks. SIGNY invited out a bunch of people to make it feel like a party and guess what — it turned into a party. SIGNY even performed the song for everyone following all the lip syncing, dancing and shooting.
The video included these little vignettes on specific characters like Austin drag queen Honey St. Claire, and I was even included in a short cameo with the girls. I doubt it will make the final cut, but it was fun none the less.
DAMN — What a Show
I can't come up with a way to adequately express to you in words how good this lineup and show was. All of these bands are good enough to carry a show on their own. When you put them all together in one place — it's something special. That's what we had on our hands last Friday night, Jan. 5, at Empire Garage.
Free Week — a very creatively named period of time where all of Austin's clubs offer shows for free — was well underway by Friday night when I headed out with my camera to meet up with some friends. We caught the bill at Empire Garage - one half of the two-stage Empire Control Room and Garage at Red River and 7th. The bill included Fort Never, Mobley and Blastfamous USA.
I saw Mobley on New Years Eve at Native Hostel and made the terrible mistake of leaving my camera at home. So, I was pretty excited when another opportunity to photograph him made itself available so quickly.
Fort Never is one of my favorite Austin bands. I first photographed them at AH-FUCC — the Austin House-Fest for Unity, Community and Chaos — back in 2016. I have had the pleasure of shooting them a handful of times since, and it's always a great show.
"Home Song" is my jam and on my everyday playlist. The band's driving and tribal percussion, slick electronic soundscapes, cutting lyrics and haunting vocals mix into an intoxicating elixir.
If you haven't had the opportunity to see Mobley, you need to correct that. I get the sense that he will soon be hard to see in such an intimate setting.
His show is incredible and involves a stage full of instruments, audio loops, lights, audience interaction, multimedia presentations and multiple wardrobe changes. He bounces around the stage from instrument to instrument creating this heady weave of sounds he calls "post-genre pop."
He has this intensity and sass that is unmistakable — and it just gives you more confidence in what you're seeing. He knows he's good, and he knows you know it too.
Remember how I mentioned audience interaction? Pictured above is the part of Mobley's show where he brings the audience into the band. Sticking a big floor tom out into the crowd and handing out sticks, Mobley leads his new band members in a marching beat that quickly revs the crowd into a frenzy. At the end of the song, he always quips something along the lines of "I'm going to need those sticks back."
The result is well produced, driving, smart hip hop that is fucking incredible in a live setting. Think Austin's version of RTJ. Yeah.
Mobley joined Blastfamous USA on stage for a cover of Mobley's track and crowd favorite "SOLO," and I'll never be the same.
Cold nights, warm booze and stolen souls
I ventured out into the cold all on my own Tuesday night to capture some images from the wonder that is Austin's Free Week. It was absolutely frigid, but the week of Austin's clubs offering free shows brought out a pretty good crowd. I got some great shots, had some warm booze, stole some souls and ran into some friends — not a bad way to start a new year.
I was at Swan Dive on assignment for OVRLD.com shooting Glitter Tribe's offering featuring Go Fever, TOMA, Big Coat, Tusk,Her and Pongo. It was a great lineup.
The bar was serving a warm cider drink and it was perfect. The poor door guys were bundled up in their best door-guy way — lots of hoodies, boots, beards and beanies. They would take turns running to the back of the bar and huddling their hulking frames over a small, white space heater.
The lighting in Swan Dive is tough, and they favor these deep color washes that befuddle the autofocus on my camera. But what is a night of photography without challenges.
First up, was Tusk,Her — a guitar and drums duo that has a quiet to loud dynamic.
I used the night to work some more on my "Soul Stealing" project. I'll write a more flushed out post about this soon, but I'm using my camera to capture the souls from the interesting characters I encounter. I got two more out of the night.
Next up on the bill was Big Coat, a classic rock and roll type outfit with lots of beardy guys. They kicked ass.
Headliners Go Fever took the stage at Midnight and even delighted the crowd with an early career No Doubt cover. I really want to say it was "Sunday Morning," but by this time I had imbibed a few alcoholic beverages, and I'm not comfortable trusting my memory entirely.
Go Fever is so stinkin' good live. They were the first band I saw/shot in 2017 for a free week show at Empire, and, man, they've only gotten more dynamic.
My good friends in Pongo took the stage last to close out the evening. I have known Trevor and Pat, the two guitarists in the band, since I was probably 12. We were in Boy Scouts and our first band together. I played bass — very poorly.
They have recently undergone a rebranding and just released an EP. They're a great up-and-coming indie rock band that are playing a lot right now. Check out their stuff and when you can see them next HERE
For the most part, I like my day job. It allows me to be creative, and they even gave me an office.
This goofy little video is a small part of the day job. I work as the Education and Social Media Director for Austin's Precision Camera & Video. It can be stressful at times, but is a fun gig for the most part. We're not a puny, little camera store. We're the biggest in Texas, and one of the best in the world.
I run the education wing of the store and coordinate photography classes. So, I come up with class ideas, find instructors, plan curriculums and events and pray everything goes alright. It gives me an awesome opportunity to interface with huge camera and photo equipment manufactures like Sony, Fuji and Profoto. Most importantly, I'm around great photographers that constantly inspire me to keep working, learning and getting better.
Another part of my job is managing our social media channels and creating content — like the video above and the picture below — for the store.
This video was shot during the store's spring Expo and Sale. We invite all the manufacturers to the store, have a sale, give free classes and seminars and people actually line up at 7 a.m. to get in when we open at 10 a.m. At the beginning, you can see my boss, Gregg, handing out gift certificates to the first 51 people in line.
For this video, I shot with the little Sony A6000 totally handheld, and you can tell. I thought the stabilizer could handle anything, and was reminded that it's still a video camera. I think the video turned out pretty great though for the 10 mins of shooting and 20 mins of editing that went into it.
I'll post more about work, what I do there and what it allows me to do in the future. In the meantime, check us out and support a local business!
This is the first post in my blog for my new website.