And So It Comes To An End

Chicago-based band Real Friends kills it at their first SXSW show.

Chicago-based band Real Friends kills it at their first SXSW show.

Here I thought I was going to have time to post photos and write about each day here at SXSW; I was clearly wrong about that. Each day went by so fast but they were so long as well. Each day Ashley and I woke up early to run around the city either volunteering, checking out daytime showcases, or exploring. Our days usually ended around 2am and we didn't get back to where we were staying until 3am. 

Each day brought new adventures and new people to meet. During my stay in Austin I met with some friends I haven't seen in a while, new photographers to network with, and even did a portrait session with an amazing band called Ohlayindigo. I can't wait to share those photos! 

Now I'm sitting in a Starbucks reflecting on my journey here. Being part of the SXSW Photo Crew was a great experience because for the first time ever, I got to sit with another photographer and got feedback on my work. I got a chance to check out some really interesting venues and artists too. Austin has some great food and even better venues like Mohawk (my favorite). 

My last full day here in Austin will consist of coffee, walking exploring, and relaxing before I wake up early and head out. Ashley and I still have a Megabus ride to catch, a train to the airport, and our final flight until we are back in Chicago. Until then I've got my camera, my phone, my iPad, my shades, and a playlist. Gallery of photo coming soon!

 

Cheers

Kris

 

Playlist - 03/20/2016

  •  Spectrolite / Bayonne
  • Playing Dead / CHVRCHES
  • Laughing and Not Being Normal / Grimes
  • Love You To the Moon / Ohlayindigo 
  • I've Given Up On You / Real Friends
  • You Don't Own Me (feat. G- Eazy) /  Grace
  • Do It, Try It / M83

 

2015 In Review

With every photo there is a story, it’s cliche to say but it’s very true. 2015 was an amazing year filled with so many new things like experiences, connections, opportunities, and friends. With each photo I have chosen as my best of 2015; each will have a short story to explain the significance of it. Let’s begin…


10. Taking Back Sunday - The Riviera Theatre

    Oh man where do I start with Taking Back Sunday? From listening to them since I was in junior high to now, it’s been quite the adventure with each album and I can’t/won’t stop listening to them ever. This night was amazing because I got to share it with some of my Chicago photographer friends who I hadn’t seen in a while like Anam and Penelope who are talented af (just saying). To be there in that energy and with good company is all I needed for it be a kick ass night.

9. Fifth Harmony - Chicago - The Vic Theatre

    Being called in to work with a particular artist is always great; it’’s even better when you realize you’ve listened to their music a lot without realizing it. This precisely that happened when I went to interview Jacob Whitesides, who was happening to be opening for Fifth Harmony. The sold out show already had my attention and as I spoke to the fans in the crowd they gave me a lesson on each act. Each fan there at the barricade was so nice, helpful, and definitely kept me entertained between sets. P.S. - I don’t shoot pop groups often so the production blew my mind!

8. X Ambassadors - Chicago - Lincoln Hall

    X Ambassadors is a band that can definitely get me right in the feels. Seeing them at Lincoln Hall was a blast! From almost tearing up from hearing “Unsteady” to dancing to their song called “Fear”; it was one of the best shows I’ve been too lately. Also their lighting was a photographer’s dream and meeting their great fans who understood why I was shuffling around to get shots always makes it a even better experience.

7. Dark Waves - Chicago - Bottom Lounge

    CMJ 2014, brought me to New York City to be part of a special event that Stache’ Media hosted for their alumni. There we listened to several up and coming artists and one of them was called Dark Waves. I really liked their music, so when I saw that they were coming to Chicago I knew I wanted to cover them. I took this shot of them all right before they took the stage and i shot of the side. After their set we did an interview and talked about CMJ and how I met them before. We chatted for a bit and before I knew it I offered to cook them food next time they were in town; an offer they took up on. A few days later I was carrying a bag of home cooked Chilean food to JBTV as they played a set. They were so appreciative of the food and it was just so nice to sit in and talk to everyone there. We hung out for a bit after their set before they headed back on the road and I woke up for my 8am class. Super great guys; I hope all the best for them in the new year. I’ll be prepared with food. 

6. From Indian Lakes - Beat Kitchen

    Well I don’t usually tear up at shows but when From Indian Lakes plays “Runner”; I lose it. From Indian Lakes is a band that I caught at Riot Fest in 2014 and had the chance to interview them. Joey Vannucchi was so down to earth and shared so much with me during our interview. A man who is a fan of coffee; so of course I recommended a few places for him to check out. Then to see them sell a packed show was amazing to see and been better to experience. I can honestly say that probably once a week I play the vinyl that I brought that night; it’s amazing after all.

5. New Politics - Riot Fest Chicago - Douglas Park

    New Politics is a band that I caught not too long ago on tour and I didn’t get a chance to photograph them at the time. Instead I got to see them with my friend Emily and it was incredible! So much energy that put into their set and so naturally I was excited to see them at Riot Fest. After being called in very last minute to cover the festival I knew I would do whatever it took to cover it (sacrifice a pair of sneakers to the mud, weather conditions, ponchos, ect.) Riot Fest alone means so much to me, it truly means the beginning of Fall and getting decked out in my plaid. It also means that I get to see so many of my photographer friends and get to connect with so many other talented folk there. That weekend was great and every time I get the chance to photograph it means that world. So here’s to Riot Fest 2016; can’t wait to run through the mud again!

4. Hands Like Houses - Chicago - Vans Warped Tour

    Oh man Warped Tour and I had so much going on this year; from being a finalist for pit reporter to running to the first stage as soon as I got in, this year as crazy! This Warped Tour was really special though and I could sense that through out the day. I brought one of my best friend’s Tawny to her first Warped Tour, I got to see so many of my friends working at different tents, started my first coverage for Digital Tour Bus, caught up with my photographer friends, and enjoyed each and every band that day. Yes it was hot as hell but totally worth it. I’ve been going to Warped Tour since 07’ and I have no intention of every missing it because it really brings me a sense of joy and summer; I think this photo captures that day's energy.

3. Bleachers - WKQX's PIQNIQ - Chicago

    I fell in love with Bleachers earlier in the year when I kept hearing “I Wanna Get Better”. As I listened to the rest of the album “Strange Desire”; I knew I had to see them live! Every time they came to Chicago though it was sold out and I couldn’t even get in for press (bummer). Then I saw that they were playing WKQX’s PIQNIQ and I knew I should at least try to get in. So the day before my editor shot an email out and a few hours later I was approved! After trying to find a train to the venue or a ride there; I ended up taking two trains and walking 3 miles to get there…it was so worth it. Later being joined by my friend Ali and Tawny topped off of the day beautifully. Also I totally knocked out in the car ride home...no shame. P.S. - Bleachers reposted my photo, so waking up from a nap and seeing that was just damn perfection. 

2. Twenty One Pilots - Lollapalooza Chicago - Grant Park

    Alright this story is long and interesting to say the least. As I was sitting at the front desk of the museum I worked at before, I saw an email from my editor stating that the photographer they had for Lollapalooza was sick and couldn’t go to the festival. In other words…I had the chance to cover a festival that I had always wanted to photograph! In 0.05 seconds I emailed my editor calling dibs, yet because we were switching of the names of photo passes; it wasn't looking too good for me. To help the situation move along quicker I left work on my break and biked as quickly (and probably not safely) to Grant Park to work it all out. In the end, it was a no go and I biked home with my dreams and heart broken. I sat at the desk thinking “well shit I missed Friday, I’m missing today, and Twenty One Pilots is playing tomorrow… forget I’m buying a ticket”. The next day I got to Lolla early and ran to the stage that TØP would be at... just 5 hours early. As the sun shined on me (a.k.a. cooked me) I had so much respect for fans who do this all the time for shows. There in the heat as I wondered how sweet water would taste, I got an email stating that my confirmation went through and I needed to pick up my press pass ASAP. Just then a major announcement came on and said due to weather we had to evacuate the grounds….whaaaaat. So pretty much picture me running through people (in humidity), trying to get my press pass, then biking a few miles home, while calling one my best friends Tawny to come drive me back to Grant Park and come to Lolla with me. Then I hopped out of the car to run all the way back to the stage that TØP was at and making it just in time to photograph their set since it was delayed due to weather. After I photographed their set I hugged my gear and collapsed on the ground trying to breathe from the rush of everything that had just happened…water please…. I truly hope that I get the chance to photograph Lolla again; it was the highlight of my summer. 

1. Twenty One Pilots - Spark In the Park Chicago - UIC Pavilion

    I know, why do I have the same artists for the second and first photo of the year? Well this story is just as good as the previous one. I graduated UIC in May of 2015 and I was involved with UIC Radio, and every year they host a private concert for UIC students only. Of course the year I leave; it’s one of my favorite bands….love how that worked out. As the day got closer I realized I could still go to the show but I really wanted to photograph; almost like he knew my buddy Armin messaged me about the show. He asked if I could take photos of their band Tanzen since they were opening (winners of UIC Radio’s Battle of the Bands); soooooo I clearly said yes. When I got there, I was taken downstairs to where each artists had their green room; Wale was the first then Twenty One Pilots, and right across from theirs was Tanzen’s. Yup, I was so down with that. I got my gear ready and listened to TØP as they finished up soundcheck and as Wale did theirs. The only thing I wanted to do that day was to photograph, give Tyler and Josh a print of my photography, and enjoy the rest of the free show with my friends. At the end of the day, I did all those things exactly. I ran into Josh and Tyler and gave them both a copy of my photography (the shot I took of them at Lolla) and had them sign a bigger version for me. I was in a photo pit of 3 photographers that night, and my good friend Ashley and I watched backstage as the guys killed it at UIC. Even as I write this blog I have a few of my photos printed but my favorite is still the signed one by the guys. A HUGE thank you to them, UIC Radio, and of course my buddies in Tanzen for making it all happen.


Well that pretty much sums up most of my 2015 and as now stand in 2016; I can’t wait to see what happens next. Maybe go on tour, maybe move, maybe get published in more outlets or new publications. Who knows? All I know is that it’s going to one hell of a ride; let’s go.

What The Road Means

Note to self: write more often.

Most of my friends think I’m kind of crazy to stay on a bus for about 20 hours from Chicago to New York City. I actually truly enjoy it because it gives me time to edit photos, videos, plan out things for the future, and more importantly I have time to reflect. 

Self-reflection is so important because it gives you time to look at your life and truly realize where you stand. This doesn’t mean you have to make drastic changes but more of asking yourself important questions.

“Are you happy with what you’re doing?”
“How have you been a good human to society?”
“You’re not perfect and that’s okay but how can you improve?”
“What has caused you pain lately?”
“Have you taken time to properly address that pain, feel it, and heal from it?”
“Have you called the ones that you hold close to your heart?”

These are some questions I asked myself as I listen to my music and stare out to the landscape scenery that passes by me. Right now, it’s almost perfection as I sit here and watch the vast amount of trees that are changing colors. Autumn is so lovely in my eyes and now I understand why it’s my mother’s favorite season. 

As I sit here and reflect I also bring along my journal that has a lot of my thoughts and emotions from past life events. Some good and some not so good; but it always fun to re-read these entries and see how it has shaped you. I’ll be honest too that there are some entries that seem so petty that I rip them out and leave them behind at one of the rest stops. No matter that case this trip is exactly what I needed. 

So I’m off to CMJ in NYC and it’s going to be amazing to be in a city full of life and music for practically the week. It gives me a chance to make new friends, to meet up with some of The Photos Ladies of NYC, and network. It also gives me a great reason to go to New Jersey to Carlo’s Bakery for a cannoli; just saying. With my polaroid by my side, I’m excited to capture some new moments and record this journey of mine. Just a few more hours until I arrived and my coverage for Quip Magazine beings. 

Stay Tuned:

Current Playlist:

  • Down Side of Me - Chvrches
  • Traveling On - Kongos
  • Often - The Weeknd
  • Blur - We Came As Romans
  • I Wanna Get Better- Bleachers
  • Empire - Of Monsters and Men
  • Hurricane - Halsey
  • I Walk The Line - Halsey
  • What Is Love - Haddaway
  • Diamonds In The Dark - Dark Waves

Blurryface Visits Chicago

Let me tell you the story of how my first day off in over two months, ended up to be one of the best days of the year for me. I got invited by my friends in the metal band TanZen to photograph them at UIC's Spark In The Park. They were opening for Wale and Twenty One Pilots. I was completely honored and excited to be part of something amazing, especially since one of my favorite bands was headlining. 

So I geared up my equipment and a print of mine that I took of the guys at Lollapalooza a mere month ago. My goals for the day were to take the best picture possible, meet the guys, give them a print, and have fun with my friends. As I arrived to the venue I looked upon the large venue and saw Twenty One Pilots doing their soundcheck. I stood there in the seats just watching and appreciating not only their talent but also enjoying the reminder that being part of the music world is truly what I want to do. 

Later on, TanZen loaded in their gear and to my surprise their dressing room was right across from Twenty One Pilots. I felt like I may have a good chance to meet the guys but only after my work was done. Before I knew it the doors opened and student flooded and flocked to the main floor. As TanZen took the stage the crowd cheered and it honestly made me really happy to see how far these guys have gotten themselves. I guess you would call it a proud mom moment? 

As the guys finished up, I took myself back to the dressing room to start editing. With my work schedule it better for me to work on things right away. As I sat there I heard the beginning beats of Wale taking the stage. I got up and walked out of the dressing room curious to see their performance. As I walked out I heard two voices behind me; Tyler and Josh of Twenty One Pilots was right behind me.

I was ecstatic that my chance came. I walked up to the guys and introduced myself and I mentioned to them that I had something for them if they wouldn't mind me grabbing the gifts. They said sure and told me where I could find them. As I grabbed the prints, I felt a smile come across my face just because it would be the first time I could show my work to the actual artists that I took the photo of. 

I walked back over to the guys and Josh met with me and I explain that I am a music photographer. I explained that the photo was from Lollapalooza and I wanted to share it with them. I asked if they could sign the large print that I had for me to keep. Tyler followed and signed the photo. What really blew my mind was the fact that Josh said my good was awesome and I was talented. That truly meant a lot to hear that from someone I think it super talented and so kind. Thanks guys!

With having met most of my goals I knew that I only had one last thing to do and that was to have fun. I grabbed my gear and got ready to photograph the guys for their first three songs. As "HeavyDirtySoul" started to play I realized that I was very lucky and blessed to be where I am after so long of photographing . Twenty One Pilots is truly amazing band and it was great to see/ meet the guys. 

 

PHOTOS ARE UP ON THE MUSIC PAGE!

Vans Warped Tour 2015

It just this past weekend where I attended Vans Warped Tour in Chicago and it was probably one of the greatest Warped Tours I’ve been to. I have been going to Vans Warped Tour since 2007 and I was instantly hooked on the energy of the fans/musicians and the atmosphere that they create. Every Warped Tour I’ve been to I end up having tons of fun regardless of weather or anything along those lines. Yet this past Warped Tour was amazing because I went with great company, I saw some amazing bands live for the first time, and bumped into old/new friends. So many great bands I saw throughout the day truly blew my mind. I am happy to say that several artists have shared or commented on the photos I have taken of them on Vans Warped Tour. I hope that in the coming years that maybe I will be lucky enough to join the tour for a summer.

Here are a few of my favorite shots! The full gallery is up on the music page.com

Shows & Updates

It’s been way too long since I’ve actually blogged something on my website (bad habit). Well though I haven’t been active on my blog or my Facebook page, I have been to a number of shows since my last post. Most recently, I was invited to catch Hidden Hospital’s show at the Metro this past Friday at the Metro.  This Chicago band was opening for Cruisr the last time I saw them and they were great.

            After rushing out of work I was able to see the band right before them called Bubbles Erotica and they were very energetic. They were intense, silly, and fun to photograph. They are a band that I would definitely like to see again sometime soon. Hidden Hospitals came on right after and they are seriously so talented, each one of them bringing their energy to the stage was great to watch. I hope to see them soon in Chicago. Unfortunately, due to a long day at work, I wasn’t able to stay and chat with the guys. I’ll stick around longer next time for sure. A full gallery of the show is on the “music” page, so be sure to check that out.

UPDATES:

Like I said it’s been quite some time since I’ve been active on Facebook or my blog. Yet, I have a few things in the works right now. I am in the works of volunteering with a great non-profit, being taken on various outlets for me to cover shows, hired for a few events, and setting up a shop on this site.

Soon enough you’ll be able to purchase prints of selected photos! Stick around for that announcement. I am also working with an outlet on having a special giveaway for a print as well!

A lot is happening and I’m excited to see what will come next! And of course thank you to everyone for supporting me!

Stay rad,

Kris

Collaboration #1

One of my New Year’s resolutions for this year was to take the time to start collaborating with other photographers. I realize that you can learn so much about the field of photography and about other people by just working with him. Realizing this, I decided to reach out to a photographer that is part of the UIC community. Joseph Horejs is a student at UIC who has a passion for photography. His work consistently is seen around campus since he shoots for UIC News. He has covered music events,      UIC events, and much more. I knew who he was but didn’t really know him so I took the opportunity to have a photo session with him after running into him after the holiday break.

We met on campus and made our way to Chicago’s lakefront, a location that changes dramatically through the seasons. In the summer, it’s filled with people young and old who walk alongside Lake Michigan for the tranquility. In the winter, it’s deserted except for the two of us and the wanders who walk along the lake still.

We walked around the lake front and museum campus while interacting with everything we saw. As Joseph worked on this upcoming project and developing concepts, I looked for the unknown. I just take photos of random things that catch my eye or think would be fun to play around with in Lightroom. We saw geese, a couple of friends smoking a cigarette and playing music on one of their laptops, and even tried to break the lake’s icy coat (didn’t work). Throughout all of this we talked and I learned more things about him; his beginning into photography, what he hopes to do with it, and his family too.

This is what I liked a lot about collaboration and hanging out with people I don’t really know too well. I’ve always been intrigued with people’s stories of their life, hopes, dreams, fears, and whatever else they have to offer. You learn so much about them and see them in a different light. After our session was done, I made my way to lunch with one of my best friends and realized that I probably make the best decision ever to start working with others. New sessions, new stories, new people, new friends...I look forward to more photo sessions.

Below are some of my favorite shots of the day; click photo to see more.

Boston's Back Bay

Boston is my home and no one can deny me that. With the rowdy sport fans, to the fresh seafood, to the brisk ocean air filling every inch of the city; this is my home. I go home pretty much only once a year and it's always during the winter. This being the case, I don't always get to enjoy the ocean view, since it's too darn cold to get close enough. However this year, the weather was acting weird (in a good way); it was warm and almost felt like fall. So I was able to get to the ocean, breathe in that lovely air, and enjoy one the things I missed the most.

My time home brought me back to my roots and refreshed my soul for the new year. Being with my family and my hometown friends brought back so many memories. I can't wait to go back but until then this photo captures my love for my city of Boston.