It was 2017, and Jackie Lee Young was working the front desk at the Hotel San José in Austin when Patti Smith walked up to discuss her accommodations. “Hi, there,” said Smith. “My room is way too big. It feels like I’m waiting on someone who’s never going to come.” A huge fan of her work, Young was quietly freaking out, only mildly shocked that Smith would be so poetic when asking for something as banal as a room change. And though the encounter with the rock legend was memorable, coming across stars of that caliber was the norm at the exclusive and quaint auberge.

Believe it or not, Jackie Lee Young’s childhood dream had nothing to do with hotels. From a young age Jackie yearned to be a professional photographer, buying her first disposable at a commissary on the compound where she lived in Saudi Arabia. From there it was a Pentax and photography school, eventually stumbling into music photography after taking a particular interest in portraiture—and the musicians who frequented the hotel.

Now Jackie Lee Young is a name synonymous with bold colors, revealing candid work, and some of the most recognizable shots in rock, becoming the house photographer for multiple festivals and the go-to for names ranging from Japanese Breakfast to Leon Bridges to Khruangbin. We have a feeling Patti Smith will be approaching her again in no time.

No matter how cool the drip, you’re still a dork if you lock your keys in the car. (Leon Bridges)
No matter how cool the drip, you’re still a dork if you lock your keys in the car. (Leon Bridges)
The 50-minute mark of your third guitar solo. (Ty Segall)
The 50-minute mark of your third guitar solo. (Ty Segall)
House rule: Every spin move must immediately be followed by an exuberant “Sh’mon!” (Moses Sumney)
House rule: Every spin move must immediately be followed by an exuberant “Sh’mon!” (Moses Sumney)

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