2017 was an immensely challenging year no matter how you looked at it. In many ways, Austin was a city under perpetual attack, whether from our own governor, who urged other Texas towns to view us despicable heathens, or from the federal government itself, which sought to make an example of our city for refusing to cooperate with the increasingly more terrifying powers at ICE. And yet despite all that, Austin continues to thrive and grow.
Part of that is due to the resilience and strength of Austin’s artists, whose abilities to bring together and embolden the community were needed more than ever in this volatile year. Music in particular is able to unite people in incredible ways and in 2017 Austin musicians delivered on this to an incredible degree. At Ovrld, we see this firsthand on a daily basis through the work of our photographers, who regularly capture beautiful, joyous and rebellious moments, and so we’d like to once again kick off our year end festivities with a look back at some of our favorite photos from 2017.
Glassing does this really great thing where they bring their own lights and place them on the floor of the stages to point up at them, giving their stage-presence an Herculean gesture as grand as the music they’re playing. I’d like to say that I perfectly timed Cory Brim on guitar to do that with his arm… so yeah, let’s just say that. I’m a genius.
Michael Gibson is one of my favorite people to photograph playing music. He has this way of doing very strange things, yet making it look like he’d practiced them in the mirror (he might have, no judgement). His facial and body expressions make for really perfect photos, so yeah, this photo made my top 5 cut. This is of him playing in his new band Deals at Mohawk.
When Caleb de Casper saw this photo, he told me he thought it had a comic vibe to it, and I’ll fucking take that. Caleb is also a super interesting performer to shoot because he always has robust costumes and stage-movements, and there’s somehow always blood. In this photo, his dancer Elizabeth Dexia had killed him on the stage at Sidewinder.
Another favorite human being of mine to shoot (pretty sure she’s made my top five list the past two years, at least) is Sabrina Ellis. I doubt I need to tell the reader this, but she is a fucking fierce force who has probably slayed every stage she’s ever taken. This photo was taken at the end of Sweet Spirit’s record release on the second day. I love how she’s making love to the audience, and that you can see them eating it all-the-way up.
One of my favorite bands to emerge this year is Blastfamous USA. We had them play AH-FUCC this year, and we were so stoked to have them! This picture was taken on the first day of the festival at Granada House, and I just love that not only can you see the middle fingers, but you can also see the shadows of them. I’ll take credit for that non-accidental timing too. ::puts on sunglasses::
This is hands down my favorite photo I took this year. I photographed the violinist of Insects vs Robots playing while a full moon was out during Start Fires, an unofficial SXSW showcase Ovrld threw at Wolfshield Ranch. It was unfortunate that their set got shut down because of the city of Austin’s noise curfew laws but I was really pleased to have gotten this shot of them performing before APD ruined their set.
While this drag queen wasn’t singing her heart out that doesn’t mean she wasn’t performing with her soul. Analthesia battled amongst a group of amateur drag queens for the title of Butch Queen 2017 and came out on top (of the competition) to win the title herself. This picture says all that you need to know about that ridiculously campy night. To next year’s competition, this is how you serve a performance.
Nicole Laurenne, the lead singer for The Darts, drew all attention to the stage with her erratic and contagious performance. See that keyboard she is straddling? Throughout the set, she can be seen playing on top of it, behind it, while she was underneath it, you name it. The entire band was also dressed in matching black catsuits and that’s a big win for me.
Full disclosure: Sam Sterling’s my roommate but I took this pretty photo of him during Dead Sally’s EP release show at Cheer Up Charlies. I’m going through this phase of shooting photos with lots of bokeh in the background and I just love how he looks with all those lights behind him.
My buddy Marcos needed some new photos for his solo project subcommander so I hooked him with a portrait session. We went around different parts of Austin to get some shots and I really liked how this portrait came out. I love how focused he is on the keyboard and this photo really shines a light on his tranquil personality.
Fort Never at AH-FUCC
Conor Oberst at Luck Ranch
Felice Bros at Luck Ranch
Lily Meola at Luck Ranch
Girlpool at Barracuda
SIGNY recreating The Shining
Caleb de Casper at Sidewinder
Girlpool at Barracuda
Mewithoutyou at Mohawk
The Hotelier at Empire Control Room
Tiny Moving Parts at Mohawk
Stretch Panic at Sahara Lounge
Dead Sally at Audubon Society during SXSW
Priests at Barracuda
S U R V I V E at Fortress Festival
Blastfamous USA at Mohawk