Three Imaginary Girls

Seattle's Indie-Pop Press – Music Reviews, Film Reviews, and Big Fun

{This article orginally ran on the KEXP Blog. Did you know Three Imaginary Girls provides weekly show picks over at KEXP? True story.}

Three Views of Bumbershoot

There's plenty to hear at Bumbershoot. We're not even going to try to tell you which of the like, 88 million great band playing during the three-day festival you should go see.

What you might not realize is that there's also plenty to see at the B-fest. The visual arts component to the festival has grown in recent years, and this year we're particularly excited about End of Summer: Three Views of Bumbershoot, which features the work of three top Seattle photographers: William Anthony, Bradley Hanson, and TIG-favorite Ryan Schierling.

For those of you who haven't been long-time readers of our site, Ryan Schierling was as instrumental to the early days of Three Imaginary Girls as the Long Winters; in fact, just as Three Imaginary Girls was born at a Long Winters show, so was our relationship with Ryan. We first met him when he emailed us these amazing photos to run with our live show review of The Long Winters' January 2003 performance at the Seattle Art Museum, and a new friendship was born.

Ryan went with us to countless shows, and took brilliant photos that put our meager words to shame when it came to documenting the overall experience. From Conor Oberst to The Thermals to Death Cab for Cutie to Visqueen to Idlewild, Ryan perfectly captured the whirlwind spirit and rock and roll glory of girls out on the town seeing way too many shows — and having way too much fun — in a town overflowing with way, way, way too much talent.

Ryan has gone on to shoot for tons of great music publications (including SPIN, Rolling Stone, Blender, Paste, Alternative Press, New York Times, yadda yadda), and while we're thrilled for all his successes, we sure do miss his influence on TIG (not to mention his charming presence at shows). And don't even get us started about how good he managed to make us look good in this press photo. Clearly, the man's got skills beyond most mere mortals. In short, TIG without Ryan Schierling would be an Absolut Mandrin and soda without the lime — it would still taste refreshing and get you drunk, but it would lack a certain the delicious zestiness, and a lovely splash of color.

Oh my. I think we're choking up over here. But don't let our sentimental gushing in any way belittle the extraordinary talents of William Anthony and Bradley Hanson. While we don't share as extensive of imaginary histories with those fine fellas, their skills with capturing the vivid excitement and haunting moments of live performances are likewise extraordinary.

Together, they've joined forces to document chronicle last year's B-shoot festival in their patented "three perspectives" format (as debuted in their 3PUNKS instillation at the Vera Project in May, 2005) in which each photographer took charge in their area of expertise. William set up a portable studio in several locations throughout Seattle Center and photographed random visitors, bands, artists and Bumbershoot crew. Ryan shot live performances. Bradley acted as a fly on the wall catching the striking moments that are usually missed amongst the crowds. The final work, exhibited as large-scale triptychs, is a stunning array of all that is Bumbershoot. Make sure to stop by the End of Summer: Three Views of Bumbershoot installation Seattle Center's Fidalgo Room (open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m all 3 days of the festival). We've seen a lot of live show photos in our imaginary days… and we've yet to see anyone match what these guys can do.

Other than that, make sure to stop by the KEXP booth (they have all kinds of cool giveaways and perhaps you can meet cute and sweet Larry Rose!) and the Flatstock exhibition (Holy cow there's going to be some amazing stuff for us music-merch-o-philes!).