Discount framing.

CFS & eggs @ Arkie's Grill, Austin, TX, via iPhone. © Ryan Schierling
"Where have you been, man?"
"I don't know. I don't... I don't know. 
"All I ever see of you is phone pics of food on Facebook? What's up?"
(I push my runny eggs around on the plate, pick up my coffee cup and look down into the blackness.)
"It's just someone else's art in my frame. Sometimes it's easier to make the frame."
"Arkie made something beautiful here. And all I did was frame it."
"I'm not even sure Arkie's alive anymore. I think that Mexican line cook 'made' your art."
"Yeah. Maybe. Does our waitress sound Norwegian or Swedish... or Finnish to you?"


Touch me I'm late.

Mudhoney @ Emo's. © Ryan Schierling
I never really had the opportunity to shoot Mudhoney when we lived in Seattle. I was ten years late on the grunge-fest, O.G. Charles Peterson-era, grainy, gritty Sub Pop love-in that spawned so many amazing photographs. I was shooting burgeoning indie-rock and figuratively, I figured I'd rather just let old dogs lie. Anyway, Charles already did those photos far more beautifully than anyone else could, fifty times over.

But it was always buried in the back of my brain.

My first experience with Mudhoney was in 1990 as a teen in Emporia, Kansas. My friend Gary had the self-titled Mudhoney cassette, and "Flat Out Fucked" ruptured the speakers in his beat-to-shit black Subaru on our way to school in the mornings. More than 20 years later, he'd never seen them either.

Last year, Gary was willing to fly all of us from Austin to Seattle to see Mudhoney play at The Crocodile, but it just didn't work out. So when I saw tour dates for late 2011 in Austin, I let him know, and I bought tickets.

The prominent "No Professional Photography without a Photo Pass" signs and big bouncers had me a little flummoxed at first (because I didn't even think to arrange for a photo pass), but a few beers and the realization that no one makes a professional living at live music photography anymore bolstered my spirits. I mean, I did this for a long, long time in Seattle, and if you want to throw me out for pointing a big camera at Mudhoney, then go right ahead – the Tacos El Rey truck is out there, so it's like tossing Brer Rabbit into the briar patch.

Mark Arm and Mudhoney put on an amazing show, and all I can say is... better late than never. 


What's The Doppelganger?

Andrew Hetherington doppelganger. © Ryan Schierling
It's said that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. I don't shoot square format or rock the Q-Flash, but for Halloween this year I went as swashbuckling editorial photographer Andrew Hetherington. Don't worry if you're not quite sure who that is. I was convinced that only friends William Anthony and Jonathan Saunders would "get it," and that's pretty much how it came off. But, it's my party and I can be who I want to. Hopefully I did Mr. Hetherington proud.

Go check out his blog What's The Jackanory?

Schierling as Hetherington. © Ryan Schierling


Idle hands.

(L) Bre. (R) Mike. © Ryan Schierling
You will learn half of what you need to know of a person by watching what they give and take with their hands. The other half, you may never truly know.


Walls of goddamned noise and sound.

I-35 N. © Ryan Schierling
I looked at the black rubber marks on the Jersey barriers. I looked at them for miles, and wondered how many drivers' days had been ruined by a drift off, a drift over, a hard jolt and the high-pitched squeal of horizontally-moving rubber and metal grinding across stationary-vertical concrete, and then you're on your side with your eyes wide and drifting, searching. It's the over-correction that gets you every time.

You take off, on the road, on your own. There's always a reason for flight. 

Flyovers. © Ryan Schierling

I stopped in West, Texas for a couple kolaches and a Dr. Pepper, and took a vanity photo of my MPG reading on the display. 259,173 miles on the odometer, and the old Saab still gets nearly 40 miles-per-gallon on the highway. It's the only proud moment I've had in a while, and why I scrub my fingernails at the end of most days. Most people don't own cars anymore. Banks own cars, and the people that drive them only know how to put fuel in them and curse at them when they're not doing what they're supposed to do. I believe in taking care of the things that take care of you, and my dad still has that old blue Pontiac Ventura, so I imagine I got a little of that from him.

259,173 miles. 37.9 mpg. © Ryan Schierling

It was 100-degrees when I left. After West, the temperature dropped 20 degrees in 20 miles, and I knew there was some shit blowing in.

I was driving north to visit my parents, to visit my father who was diagnosed with aggressive lymphoma and undergoing radiation therapy and chemotherapy, in the year after he had retired.

You're not supposed to go through this, after working your entire life and doing the right things, making the right decisions.

It's a three hour drive, and I have time to think about all the different kinds of cancer. The random, abnormal cells our body kills off every day without incident or circumstance, and the ones that just happen to stick somewhere, take up residence and open storefronts. I'm going 100 mph. 

Incoming. © Ryan Schierling

It's getting dark. There is lightening on three sides of me, and the rain is beating down on the windshield. I slow the car, and I turn up the stereo to drown everything out.

Everyone has those times when the night’s so long /
The dead-end life just drags you down /
You lean back under the microphone /
and turn your demons into walls of goddamned noise and sound



Take a deep breath, close your eyes. © Ryan Schierling

Turn around, relax. © Ryan Schierling


John Vanderslice.

JV @ Mohawk - Austin, Texas. © Ryan Schierling



Photographer Jonathan Saunders, w/ ice cream sandwich outside One Bridgepoint. Austin, Texas. © Ryan Schierling
I'll agree there could have possibly been ice cream sandwiches before or during Saunders photographing Bernie Madoff. I cannot comment on the after. I just don't know.

As for the Saunders story of a Madoff-commissioned portrait, made by Yousuf Karsh in 1988, penultimately hung over the bed of Madoff's secretary "so he could keep an eye on her," ultimately hung in the collection of a plastic surgeon specializing in the aquisition of scandalous portraiture and willing to barter for said secretary's elective surgeries to the tune of six figures... you'll have to ask elsewhere. I have no knowledge of the subject other than hearsay.

At One Bridgepoint, though, the ice cream sandwiches were delicious. 


Here's to your health.

Many thanks to Anne, Michele and HCB Health for such a fabulous time Sunday night at their SXSW Interactive fĂȘte.  © Ryan Schierling


Flying the freak flag.

Texas, hippie, via iPhone. © Ryan Schierling