For their first task, the US CitySlickers will show us around their towns and cities, documenting their experiences in analogue and telling us stories along the way. Let's meet Rachel and learn more about Austin, Texas!
Name: Rachel Staggs
City: Austin, Texas
Austin is quickly becoming a large city and I can feel the vibrations of a future metropolis. My relationship with Austin, Texas began when I moved here as an 11 year old. I didn’t have any grand ideas about what this city would bring me. My father got a new job and our family relocated. The population then was around 250,000 and it was the early 80s. I had the pleasure of experiencing Austin when it was flyover-free. Since I learned to drive back then, I still get nervous on the growing number of highway flyover passes.
During my first month as a resident, I began playing an instrument. It was the clarinet back then and I would go on to study it for nine years, before putting it under my bed and purchasing a guitar. I have been performing in the Austin music scene since early 1997 when I played my first show at Hole in the Wall near the University of Texas. Surprisingly, it’s still standing, while many of my old haunts have been demolished in favor of condos and mixed-use housing.
I look forward to SXSW each year and have always enjoyed taking photographs of concert goers as well as performers. Here are some shots taken with my LC-A+ during an intimate show with The Jesus and Mary Chain at The Belmont this year.
From the same evening, Night Beats.
Local Austin band Octopus Project rang in the 2am hour and this double exposure turned out to be one of my favorites from the festival.
My love affair with Lomography began when I purchased my first Holga in 1997. I had no idea what medium format film was, but I dove in head first and never looked back.
For my birthday this year, I finally bought myself a LC-A+. I adore it and love using it with cross process film! Here are some shots from Austin’s Hotel Saint Cecilia, where I spent my 40th birthday this year. 40 is a doozy, it just doesn’t seem possible, but Hotel Saint Cecilia and my LC-A+ cushioned the blow.
I am really proud of Austin’s independent spirit. That is one of the few things I haven’t seen change with all of the growth and urban sprawl I’ve witnessed in nearly three decades as a resident. One of the newer music festivals is Austin Psych Fest. It just celebrated its 5th year, so it’s not really new anymore, but it keeps growing and still maintains an independent spirit about it. Here are some black and white shots I took at the festival on 400 speed Lady Grey with my LC-A+.
I’m excited to show you around my hometown and share with you all of the unique qualities that make Austin different than any other place in Texas!