Portraits Of SXSW 2011

The concluding post on this year’s SXSW comes with this, a break from the norm for us and likely for you as well. In addition to identifying the bands we were most excited about at this year’s SXSW, and filing our reports from Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, we decided to round out our coverage this year by teaming up with photographer Ryan Muir to identify and photodocument a cross-section of our favorite festival talent in environments more relaxed, more unique, more removed from SXSW’s standard beer-splattered stages. I hope you’ll enjoy this spread as much as we did conceiving and executing it: Ryan’s eye for composition is keen, his pictures rewarding. Click through the shots above, and click on for his thoughts on this week in portraiture:

South By Southwest is a festival in which musicians, journalists, bloggers and partiers go to exhaust themselves in a debaucherous week of unruly, boozy, and rushed performances. The most visible and high profile showcases favor the most visible, and arguably those least in need of attention (this year’s examples are Kanye West and the Strokes). I’ve felt this is a crippling flaw of the SXSW experience, and I’ve had some inner conflict about my role as a documenter of this festival.

For my fourth visit to this wonderous sprawl of self-importance, I tried to liberate myself from the moving targets that are SXSW set times and move physically away from the throngs of cameras and neck-draped press credentials in the photo pit.

To prepare I worked with Stereogum’s editors to make a selection of artists who we felt deserved that extra SXSW attention. From there we made arrangements to spend some time with each of them in what is hopefully first of many portraiture series of this and other festivals. 

The final result hopefully is a series of unique images you can enjoy of musicians we hope you will spend some listening time with soon.

-Ryan Muir