an exploration of urban identity in the middle of Texas
I originally started documenting Austin in 2006 shortly after I relocated here from Boston. Feeling community-less and curious of my new surroundings, I hopped on my bike and started photographing. What else was an unemployed explorer to do?
Daily bike rides soon revealed eccentricity in the midst of urban growth and redevelopment, the shifting natures and an eclectic scene that is Austin.
I continued documenting what became my first photo essay, Austin Seen, a View from Saddle, until the end of 2008 when I moved to Brooklyn, New York.
Upon returning to Texas at the end of 2010, I noticed a lot had changed in Austin, the faces, the skyline, the population. The city was in the midst of growing up, literally. I continued working on the project, documenting the city and inhabitants, and soon discovered the rapid pace at which Austin was changing, so many things disappearing—landmarks, art, open space—within the short span of my discovery or notice. It felt as though the sidewalk was being erased behind me as I rode over it; Austin seen evolved into a quest to document the disappearing and changing Austin.
No matter how we view the changing face of Austin, I hope Austinites will take a look around, take notice of their community and of the small and large ways the city is growing.
The images in Austin Seen, in progress… were shot from January 2011-present.
Like Austin, this series is in progress…
Jo Ann Santangelo (b.1974) is a multimedia photographer and visual storyteller who documents everyday life in hidden and marginalized communities. Jo Ann spent her childhood in Boston’s Italian-working class neighborhood known as the North End. Surrounded by unforgettable characters in a constantly changing community, she began taking photographs and discovered what she was meant to do: move organically through neighborhoods, talking to people and letting them reveal their isolation, their bonds, and their humanity on film. Jo Ann resides in Austin, Texas where she continues to work as freelance photographer and collaborates with local and national non profit organizations to tell their stories. She is currently working on a new body of work, a collaboration with the Sustainable Food Center: Grow, Share, Prepare, documenting the vibrant local, sustainable food system in Central Texas and continues to capture Austin Seen, in progress…