Street Photography

Austin Street Photography, Power and Powerlessness in the City

Austin Street Photography, a series of photos that capture the coexistence of power and powerlessness in Texas' weirdest city.

Austin Street Photography, a series of photos that capture the coexistence of power and powerlessness in Texas’ weirdest city.

Austin is undeniably captivating, given its unique duality. As the capital of one of the most conservative states in the US, it stands in stark contrast as a liberal and creatively vibrant city. Although my time here was regrettably limited, I couldn’t help but notice the conflict between the powerful and powerless that permeated the city. This intriguing clash of ideologies creates a rich tapestry of perspectives and narratives. Austin, on the surface, seems to navigate this tension, well. But a close look reveals that tension appears to be eroding the city’s original character. As a photographer though, this makes Austin an intriguing subject for exploration and reflection. Given more time, I’m certain I would have uncovered even more fascinating aspects of this multifaceted city.

I rarely take photos of homeless people unless I have a relationship with them and they give me permission or I have a specific purpose such as addressing homelessness. This particular photo resonates deeply with me due to the poignant portrayal of the subject’s shirtless back. In this image, the bareness of his back exposes us to his raw vulnerability. It evokes an empathetic response within me, reminding me of the struggles homeless people experience. The photo serves as a powerful reminder of how vulnerable the homeless are. I believe it sparks a compassionate understanding and empathy for them.

The Texas State Capitol

One of the remarkable aspects of the capitol building in Austin was its accessibility to the public. They allow visitors like myself to stroll in and explore it freely. It made doing Austin street photography a refreshing experience to be able to wander through the halls and chambers without any limitations on what I could capture with my camera. Being able to photograph it without constraints left me with some internal conflict. One way I felt grateful for being able to go into it and see where important decisions are made. But I also felt sad for tons of homeless people that wander the city that most likely feel left behind when they hopelessly look upon this building.

Published by
Matthew T Rader