Lisa at Lucille, SXSW 2024 – Austin, Texas

Of all the downtown neighborhoods, the Rainey Street District has changed the most. Once the last remaining residential area in the Central Business District, it was rezoned commercial and then the boom began. Tiny old bungalows were transformed into cute bars and restaurants that created a unique having-drinks-at-a-friend’s-house vibe. What made Rainey Street special is all but gone now.
Developers tore down the small bars one by one and replaced them with giant condos and apartment buildings. Now, only a few remain surrounded by a wall of tall structures. I was documenting one of the remaining neat ones that was quiet during SXSW 2024. I remember Lucille well. It was a site for many a Drink and Click before it got too busy to go there. My post from a decade ago, with the Fujifilm X100S, captures the feel of old Rainey Street.

As I photographed Lucille below, a woman at the right of the frame stated, “You can take a picture of me if you like.” I responded, “Did you want a picture?” “Yes.”

Lucille, Rainey Street - Austin, Texas

That’s how I shot one of my few SXSW 2024 portraits this year. I had ambitious portrait plans even bringing the compact Sigma 90mm f2.8, remembering that I used to make portraits at SouthBy before the pandemic (2017, 2018, and 2019 portraits). Except, I didn’t use it, shooting street photographs instead with the Tamron 17-28mm f2.8. It was too much of a hassle to change lenses.

When Lisa requested the portrait, I zoomed from the 20mm I used to shoot the bar architecture to 28mm. It’s not the ideal focal length for portraiture. I then cropped in post. I should’ve changed my aperture to f2.8, but I forgot to. The f5 aperture doesn’t create much background separation.

Lisa at Lucille, SXSW 2024 - Austin, Texas

In keeping with my traditional monochrome SXSW portraits, here’s Lisa in black and white

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Last Update: 05/09/2024