Merry Christmas and a happy New Year from our family to yours.

(L-R) Joon, Ryan, Benjamin, Miss Winifred, Julie, Waldo. © Ryan Schierling

Much love from Austin,
Ryan and Julie.


Kane Hodder is Fucking Dead*

Kane Hodder @ Hell's Kitchen, Tacoma, WA. © Ryan Schierling

*from Kane Hodder

The first time I saw the band Kane Hodder was in 2004 at Graceland (now El Corazon) in Seattle. I was on assignment for The Stranger, and it was a weird, Wednesday night early show. The venue was empty. I'd never heard any of their music, and had no idea what to expect, but at least I had an uninterrupted run of the entire front of the stage to shoot from.

When lead singer Andrew Moore launched into "Aboard The Leper Colony" with the scraping staccato "I'm gonna give it to ya, I'm gonna give it to ya, I'm gonna give it to ya bang bang bang bang..." I lowered my camera and stood there front and centerstage, dumbfounded. Why hadn't I heard of these guys before? The next 30 minutes were – sonically – a three-way fistfight between a pretentious boys' school choir soprano channeling Queen, a melodic pop-punk boy band built for straight-up hit-radio and a baker's dozen metal guitarists (+1 furious pigeon-toed post-hardcore vocalist spewing napalm) driving a burning steamroller over everything you hold dear.

(Take a deep breath).

Visually, Kane Hodder were equally stunning.

That night, Moore, and everyone else in the band, played like the room was packed, lubricated and writhing. At subsequent shows, when the house really was jammed to the rafters with spastic, sweating, gyrating fans, they'd give that much more. It was utterly exhausting watching them, but always a pleasure to shoot over the years.

Sadly, after seven years together, Kane Hodder is calling it a day. Moore, Eric Christianson, Charley Potter, Jerome Sauer and Aaron Yost (along with KH1.0 members Jeremy White and Nick Cates) will play a final performance at El Corazon this Saturday night. Joining them are friends Schoolyard Heroes, who are also playing their last show. These Arms Are Snakes and Sirens Sister round out the bill.

If you're in Seattle, and can still get tickets, I can't recommend this show enough.

Kane Hodder. (L-R) Jerome Sauer, Charley Potter, Andrew Moore, Aaron Yost, Eric Christianson. © Ryan Schierling


On the road - Lockhart, Texas.

Post oak, Smitty's Market. Lockhart, Texas. © Ryan Schierling

Now, I really don't want to get into the habit of posting photographs of what I ate for lunch, because for the most part, it's only visually interesting to me. And, I tend not to do food photography in the 'proper' sense, because it seems to be just overly fussy and styled within an inch of its life.

I'm not sure there really is a pretty way to shoot barbecue. And if there is, I don't think I'd want to do it anyway. It's usually a glorious mess.

Ribs, brisket and hot guts. © Ryan Schierling

Since we're in Austin now, it was only a matter of time before I made the inaugural pilgrimage to The Barbecue Capitol of Texas. It is a proper and sanctioned place (which is why I capitalized the "T," the "B" and the "C") only a half-hour's drive south from here. The Texas Legislature, both House and Senate, have passed a resolution that decrees the town of Lockhart to be The Barbecue Capital of Texas, and there was no way I was going to miss out on something that officially tasty, not when it comes to brisket and pork ribs.

I mean, c'mon. It's like, not voting or something.


Jim Thomsen.

Jim Thomsen. © Ryan Schierling

I first met Jim when I was the staff photographer for The Bainbridge Island Review, oh, so long ago.

It was a small, twice-weekly paper with a tiny staff, a storied past, and a boatload of Washington Newspaper Publisher Awards. A great number of those awards were taken home by Jim for news and business stories, but the majority were for his elegant, eloquent sports writing.

One thing that's been stuck in my head for the past 10 years, is that Jim once used the word-pair "somnambulant wave" in the description of a shot on goal in a men's water polo game. Yes, yes. Bainbridge High had a men's water polo team. Pretentious? Perhaps. And could writing about a men's water polo match in such a manner be just a little bit pretentious as well? You betcha. I guarantee 98-percent of that wealthy, erudite Seattle-bedroom-community island went for their dictionaries that day, and I guarantee Jim had a broad grin (with just a hint of a smirk) when he picked up his WNPA award for "best sportswriting" that year.

Another thing I liked most about working with Jim was that he never, ever sat up in the press box at football games, even if it was 40-degrees and pissing rain sideways, which it usually was. He'd be pacing the sidelines, watching and listening with a bent ear, scribbling notes, squinting, occasionally throwing up his arms at a call he just couldn't believe. You never got a rote, play-by-play account of the game from Jim. You always got a well-tempered story.

I am also truly thankful he also never uttered the dreadfully possessive and supremely insulting words for a photojournalist, "my photographer."

When Jim got in touch with me to shoot some promotional portraits for his first nonfiction crime book, all I needed to know was when and where. These are a few of my favorites.

© Ryan Schierling

I had Jim write a quick bio for this:

"Jim Thomsen is a newspaper editor in Bremerton, Wash., who is hoping to transition to becoming an author of nonfiction crime books. Photos from this shoot will adorn his still-under-construction Web site (jimthomsen.com when it's ready) and the back cover of his still-under-construction first book, "Everybody Here Gets Out Alive."

© Ryan Schierling