Deep in the Heart of Texas for Lykke Wullf by Emily Alben

Photographer Emily Alben and artist Marion Brooks went deep in the heart of Texas for a wedding and brought some new Lykke Wullf pieces with them! 

Emily - Marion picked me up from the airport in her Silver Nissan truck (she had driven in a record two days from California to Austin) and we headed straight to our favorite spot for Mezcal Negroni's, Justine's Brasserie. Marion and I met in Texas a few years before during the Marfa Myths Musical Festival, and although we're both LA babies now, the lonestar state will always have a special place in our hearts. We had 48 hours in Austin, and between wedding festivities, breakfast tacos, and minimal sleep, we drove around photographing Lykke Wullf in the lush but chilly Texas winter.

Closing Credits by Emily Alben

One last trip to New Orleans and back to pack up what I’d left back in April. I haven’t had all my belongings in one place since I headed off to college, but these past two years have been particularly transitory. We’re about to move into our first home and I can’t wait to settle, nest, take stock of what I have and build from there.

Photos taken in Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.

Welcome to Crawfish Season by Emily Alben

From Constellation Magazine Issue 3: The American South

What do I think about when I think about seasons in New Orleans? 

Well, there’s too-hot-to-do-anything season, hurricane season, Mardi Gras season, and, of course, crawfish season. 

Les Blank’s Always For Pleasure, a 1978 documentary about New Orleans traditions, features an interview with the cook at Frankie and Johnny’s, who outlines the proper way to dissect a crawfish: “You put it under your tongue with your teeth…you squeeze and pull out, then you suck the heads.” 

This exceptionally visceral scene marked the beginning of my own fascination with crawfish culture. The crawfish boil functions as a return to the swamp: the murky water, the not knowing exactly what lies beneath the surface. 

My friend, muse, and model for this shoot, Christ Moses, and I ventured outside the Crescent City to the banks of the Pearl River for a picnic built around the aforementioned crawfish—with a side of fresh Louisiana strawberries and Barq’s root beer. 

I’m no crawfish expert, but I did have a perfectly worn-in vintage “Louisiana Mudbug” t-shirt for Christ to wear while I taught her the tricks of the crawfish trade that I’d learned from the Cajun cook. In the photographs, I sought to capture the specificity of the ritual, while also showcasing the almost prehistoric attributes of these strange, clawed creatures.

After our picnic, we ventured through the lush greenery and into the swamp. It’s an enchanting setting, with Spanish moss draped over the branches, cypress trees and their maze of roots, and overturned boats in the glimmering honey-hued water. I asked Christ to personify the swamp and its enigmatic beauty, like a Cajun Aphrodite. The deeper we went, the quieter it got. We shared the simultaneous fear and curiosity inherent in coming across a gator, gathered translucent snail shells, and basked in the glow of the dappled light shining through the flora. Thankfully, the alligators stayed at bay—and these photographs and memories are the fruits of our adventure. ★