Happy St Patrick's Day! | Amy Jasek

After years of avoiding Austin during SXSW - getting caught up in the grouchy zeitgeist of locals who can barely stand the traffic and crowds on a regular day I guess - in 2018 I decided to not let that stop me. It was St Patrick’s Day, it was Spring Break, and I wanted to soak it all up. The day I had, in the sun, surrounded by happy people, makes me regret avoiding the St Patrick’s Day parade during the years I spent in New York.

I suppose it goes against the usual ethos of a street photographer to not want to put themselves into the fray for the sake of photos, but life’s all about ebb and flow. It had been some months since my last trip to South Congress, and recently I was shocked to realize that I hadn’t been there since the March 17th I’m sharing with you today. It had almost been a calendar year!

It was lively, crowded. Music was everywhere, thanks to SXSW. . . . .

Not everyone was smiling and jolly. . . . . not at the time I photographed them, anyway. Life metaphors!

Riding, walking, rolling, hanging out: it was all happening on South Congress Avenue on St Patrick’s Day last year!

South Congress is fun to photograph. It’s fun to just be there - wandering, shopping, eating, drinking, hanging out. Austin has a lot of hearts (downtown and Zilker Park are two others) and this is one of them that for me never gets old. I’m thankful that so far the changes happening there haven’t altered the character of the place too much. (Long time residents would probably disagree with me; I can only compare it with how it was 8 years or so ago.) I hope the city will keep that in mind as time (and development) races on.

Where am I this year for St Pat’s? I’m writing this a few days in advance, so I really don’t know. I might be out photographing. I might be at home in my PJs. Wherever I am, I’m definitely wearing at least a little bit of green. And wherever you are, I hope your day is full of happy, and, as the Irish saying goes “May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face.” And all that good stuff.

All photographs Hasselblad 500 cm and Kodak Tri-x.


Film photographer Amy Jasek is based near Austin, TX. See more of her work on her website and her Instagram.

Amy Jasek

Photography is a family tradition. I was raised in the darkroom, and on the fine art work of photographers like Edward Weston, Diane Arbus, and Ansel Adams. My father took me photographing with him regularly and taught me how to look at light. He gave me my first camera (an Olympus RC); I made my first black and white print (standing on a stool!) at the age of 7. There are some gaps in the timeline of my photographic journey, enforced upon it by life in general, but film and cameras are one of the few things that have remained constant every step of the way. For me, photography is all about moments and truth. I like to work in black and white so that I can highlight those two things. The truth, form, and simplicity of the moment is presented; I feel that removing the color from the scene brings these things out. I believe street photography is a little window into the heart and soul of a place, a time, and the people in it. These days I tend more toward street portraits and interaction with my subjects, but my drive for capturing the candid moment remains the same.