Following a youth spent primarily in lands at the diametric extremes of hot and cold—Saudi Arabia and Norway, to be exact—the photographer Jackie Lee Young made the decision to settle in Austin. And the climate, as far as culture and collaboration go, seems to have fit her just right. Over the past fifteen years, she has built a truly stunning portfolio, with a keen eye for original angles, and a steady reliance on the rich, almost tropical color palette that defines her work and truly sets it apart. Her intimate, inimitable relationship with the local music scene is ever-present as well; whether it’s covering SXSW for The New York Times T Magazine, or the Trans-Pecos Festival for Paper, her unique ability to capture the elusive energy of a live performance has garnered her a well-earned reputation as the chronicler of music in an intensely musical city.
It is her portraiture, however, that reveals the most about the complex relationship between photographers and their subjects. Inspired by the work of the Malian photographer Seydou Keita, Jackie Lee Young took an approach early on that favored the emotional over the technical, the fruits of which can be seen throughout her many portraits, be they of Austinites or otherwise, natives or newcomers.