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Twist & Shoot

In the pit and on the stage, Austin photographer rolls with the rock

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Fantasy (Stanley Roy Williamson), Austin, 2012 Courtesy of Photo by Shelley Hiam
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Outside Lands festival, San Francisco, 2013 Photo by Shelley Hiam
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The Octopus Project, Austin, July 2013 Photo by Shelley Hiam
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Nick Cave, Stubb's, Austin, SXSW 2013 Photo by Shelley Hiam
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Bobby Jealousy, Hotel Vegas, Austin, April 1, 2013 Photo by Shelley Hiam
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Sexy Sax Man during Slayer, Austin, Fun Fun Fun Fest 2012
Photo by Shelley Hiam
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Crystal Castles, Manchester, Tenn., Bonnaroo 2009 Photo by Shelley Hiam
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Shelley Hiam is nothing if not dedicated. Talented, personable, professional – she's all that, too, sure. Just don't try to get between the Austin photographer and the subject of one of her gorgeous, dramatic photos. She'll find a way around you.

Hiam has been shooting the stars of Central Texas, rock 'n' roll and otherwise, for long enough to know how to get the shot — that shot. It's the one you might not have seen coming but feels perfect and right the instant you look at it. Her quick thinking and dogged persistence in the pit – front and center at the rock shows, jostling with fans and fellow photographers to get the very best possible position — have served her well in the face of both obstacles and unexpected beneficence. She's experienced the ecstasy of being pulled onstage, camera in hand, at a Flaming Lips show and the agony of staying put, with two bands left to shoot, as a random guy at Fun Fun Fun Fest relieved himself on her.

It's all paid off, in buckets, for her and for us. The photos at Hiam's first solo exhibit, "Twist & Shoot" (at Salvage Vanguard Theater through Oct. 5), convey that sense of rock 'n' roll as grand adventure; they're spontaneous and expertly composed, epic and intimate.

You might or might not be a fan of a particular one of her subjects, who in this show include Wayne Coyne of the aforementioned Lips, Nick Cave and such local faves as The Octopus Project, Bobby Jealousy and versatile performer Stanley Roy Williamson, among others. Either way, a viewing is likely to incite that swelling one feels when swept up in the ephemeral tide of a mass musical moment. Her studio shots aren't bad either.

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