Morgan Phillips: Los Angeles To Iceland

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Morgan Phillips: Los Angeles To Iceland by Andres Tardio

As beautiful as Southern California is, the awesome year-round weather can sometimes make one long for a change of scenery. Everyone needs to  add variety to their lives, even those in 80 degree weather. For Morgan Phillips, this meant a trip to Iceland.

Iceland is impressive and incredible, so the experience was documented through photographs that captured the awe-inspiring essence of this beauty. Phillips took WeAreJuxt into his travels with an interview upon his return to California.

AT: Why did you decide to go to Iceland?

MP: Going to Iceland was a spur of the moment decision. I actually bought the ticket 6 days before I left! My friend Ravi(@Ravivora) was going out there to work with Trash (@Trashhand) and I didn’t wanna miss out! So I made the decision to meet them out there when they were done working. That being said, Iceland is the mecca for photographers such as myself. The assorted landscapes and scenery are just begging to have a camera aimed at them. I just had to experience it.

AT: Can you describe your thoughts as you were on your way to Iceland?

MP: Absolute excitement. I hadn’t been out of the country for a couple years and I was aching to see and experience a new culture as well as take pictures. At the time, I was looking for some different scenery and people to shoot. So most of my flight I was thinking about what I was gonna shoot and how to shoot it to capture it’s true beauty.

AT: What did you pack for the trip in terms of photography gear?

MP: Most importantly I packed my iPhone and Mophie power pack, there are no outlets in the middle of Iceland, had to stay charged! In terms of the “artillery”, I brought my Nikon D600, Zeiss 25mm lens, Nikon 35mm 1.4g, Nikon 50mm 1.8g, Nikon 24-70 2.8g, Manfroto tripod, 2 36” 5 in 1 reflectors, Macbook Pro (gotta edit on the go), mini JOBY tripod, and all the accessories I would need. All of this was packed in my Chrome Camera bag. In hindsight, I over packed. The Zeiss 25mm stayed on my camera 95 percent of the time. It is perfect for capturing Iceland.

AT: Once you arrived, what were differences you noticed between LA & Iceland? 

MP: The differences between Iceland and Los Angeles are immense. LA has some beautiful landscape around it. This being said, it doesn’t compare to Iceland. Iceland is insanely beautiful. Every time we went around a turn there was something new to shoot, things that couldn’t be found in LA or the United States for that matter. LA never has snow; the northern part of Iceland was covered in snow and blizzarding most of the time! The population of the entire country is only about 350,000 people. To put this in perspective Los Angeles County has almost 10,000,000! That is 28 times the population of the entire COUNTRY! There were days where we didn’t see another person. If you are going to Iceland and hoping to eat American food, good luck. Most places will sell you a “hamburger” but it isn’t the same. The country only has 3 American restaurants that I saw: Taco Bell, KFC, and Subway. The Taco Bell and KFC were connected. [Laughs.] The most incredible difference to me was the age of the culture. Iceland was settled in the early 9th century, compared to the US, which was only settled by Europeans in the 16th century. I find this fascinating.

AT: What were your top 5 images you took in Iceland? What made each one special/stand out?

MP: All the shots [featured here] were taken with my Nikon D600 and edited in Lightroom only. They also have never been posted or seen. I have kept them under wraps until my new website is up and running! I hope you enjoy the sneak peek. The best part about Iceland is all you have to do is show up and shoot. Whatever you capture will be breathtaking.


Shot Info: Zeiss 25mm, F/6.3, 1/160th, ISO 140
This is the shot I had to get in Iceland. The iconic wreck of the United States Navy DC-47. This shot is special to me because I don’t know another place on the planet that has an untouched plane crash. The way the plane has become part of the landscape is breath taking. I am also just a sucker for shots that have a story behind them. Getting to the location is an adventure. It is on a black sand beach with no roads. We drove around for 30 minutes just looking for the wreck. We came over a sand dune and boom, there it was. Absolutely insane. It was perfect.


Shot Info: Zeiss 25mm, F/10, 1/125th, ISO 200
This is one of those shots you just come across. We were driving up a hill and as we came over the crest the entire car said “WOAH”. We had to stop. It is so rare you can capture so many different landscapes in one shot. I’ll let the viewer discover all this picture has to offer. I love it.

Shot Info: Zeiss 25mm, F/3.2, 1/200th, ISO 220
This shot was taken at sunrise in Myvatn. We always had planned an overnight in Myvatn to catch the sunrise but you could never have planned for this. The sunrise was the most spectacular sunrises I have ever seen. I don’t think anything will ever compare. It is a rare shot where I actually had to desaturate because the real thing looked so unbelievably fake. I love sunrises, and I’ll remember this one the rest of my life.


Shot Info: Zeiss 25mm, F/2.8, 1/50th, ISO 140
This was the most difficult shot to capture of the 5 shots. The wind was gusting extremely hard, I would estimate 50mph. You can see the grass is almost completely sideways. To add to the difficultly it was getting dark. Real dark. So I had to shoot wide open with a low shutter speed to get enough light to keep the ISO in an acceptable range. I took about 80 shots here, because of the wind and slow shutter speed, only 8 were steady enough. Some times you just have to keep trying till you get it. This was a random house on the side of the road, not planned but a must shoot.


Shot Info: Zeiss 25mm, F/4, 1/200th, ISO 360
This was taken the same morning as the other sunrise shot. It was captured about 20 minutes after the road shot and you can see how colors changed throughout the sunrise. I have never seen a sunrise go from yellow to orange to red to purple to a soft purple. It was something I didn’t think was possible. I was shooting this lake and it was missing something. I asked Zach (@Zachpassport) to run out and stand on the small jetty. I think his presence adds to the scale of this incredible scene.

AT: If others want to go to Iceland, how should they prepare?

MP: It all depends on the time of year. Winter is pretty brutal there. I was there in the beginning of winter and it was 25 degrees Fahrenheit. So dress warm. Iceland is also known for its wind. The gusts were maxing out at almost 60 miles a hour in some places. We had an incident with a car door almost being ripped off our rental. It was a costly mistake. So make sure you get full coverage on your rental car! Also it is important to know things are a lil more expensive, not to much but it can be noticeable. Coffees were about 5 bucks at a coffee shop. It is easy to now know how much you are spending because the currency is crazy. 44 US dollars equals roughly 5000 Icelandic Krona. The most important way to prepare is plan your trip well. Know where you wanna shoot and at what time so you can get there. The Sunseeker App helped me with this. It shows you the direction of the sun and specific times of day. Nothing worse than getting to a location and realizing you are in a shadow and the shot is ruined! Also, if you are going to Iceland in the winter, the north isn’t the best for photography. It is generally snowing and hard to shoot.

AT: How would you describe your photo style?

MP: It is so hard to describe my own style. My goal with every picture I take is to capture the true beauty of a scene as I see it. Whether I am shooting a person or a landscape, I want the viewer to see what I see. I want it to be true and real. In my opinion, if I do my job right, the viewer will feel like they are there and feeling what I am feeling at the time of the shot.

AT: How long have you been a photographer?

MP: I have always owned a camera of some kind. About 7 years ago I got my first “real” camera. It was an Canon EOS something or other. It was film. I took a photography class or two at the time and enjoyed it. I never thought it would turn into what it is today. I sold the camera and bought a 1980s Canon AE-1 about 3 or 4 years ago. This is where my love for photography took off. Soon after I started an Instagram. Shot on the iPhone for about a year and finally bought my first DSLR. That started my professional photography career. At this point I have been a full time professional photographer for only a year. It has been a blast! Best career in the world.

AT: What inspires you about mobile photography?

MP: Mobile photography has changed the photography game. Billions of people now have access to a camera that 10 years ago would be out of reach. My inspiration for mobile photography comes from the ability to shoot at anytime, anywhere. I don’t have to lug my DSLR around to capture a shot. This allows us to shoot things that normally we couldn’t shoot. I love that. I also love the fact a cellphone with a camera has changed the way we all see the world. Daily we see pictures and video shot in places that normally wouldn’t allow photos to be taken. Places like Egypt, Syria, Libya, and more recently the conflicts in central Africa. We can witness things first hand with the people experiencing them as our guide. I hope this changes the world like it has changed me.

AT: What apps do you advise photographers to use?

MP: In terms of mobile photography, VSCO Cam is by far my most used app. 85 percent of my most recent photography is edited completely in that app. I cant express how much I love VSCO Cam and VSCO Film for Lightroom. I also use Snapseed and Filterstorm. They can accomplish the things VSCO can’t. Things such as spot editing, layers, masking, and fine tuning an image. I also use Touch Retouch from time to time to remove those pesky imperfections in an iPhone shot. For DSLR editing, Lightroom and Photoshop are my go to apps. VSCO Film is a must!

Take Us To Johannesburg

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Take Us To… ” is an ongoing travel series around the world which features several photographers in a given location. The goal is to give you an inside look as to what the city is like day by day.

Today we fly non-stop to Johannesburg aka Jozi, the largest city in South Africa.

Flight #4 features Alessio, Gareth, Levon, Ofentse, Paula and Roy… 5 of the most phenomenal Jozi photographers!

I’d like to thank Gareth for spearheading this project, without him this would not have been possible.  So, thank you for investing your time and effort in putting this together.  Your vision and talent is beyond AMAZING!

Take us to Jozi with @igersJozi & @wearejuxt from Gareth Pon on Vimeo.

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Meet The Photographers

 

Alessio La Ruffa

Alessio La Ruffa is a freelance social media and WordPress consultant by day.

Born and raised in Pretoria, he has always been on the creative side, but never found a creative outlet that resonated with him. Once he attended his first Instameet, that all changed.

Whenever he has the time, he is off to Johannesburg to discover the inner city with fellow mobile photographers.

Instagram has opened Alessio’s eyes to the world, allowing him to see the ordinary differently, and seeing things that others usually miss.

Instagram // twitter

“JoBurg City Streets” 

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Gareth Pon

I shoot things and turn them into pixels.
• Dreamer • Movie Maker • Stills Taker •

Founder of Instagramers South Africa
Goal:  Instagram From Space

My name is Gareth Pon,
I shoot things and turn them into pixels.
I am a dreamer, film maker, photo shooter and instagramer.
I have lived in Johannesburg, South Africa my whole life and I believe that everyone should have at least one ridiculous dream that they believe can become a reality. One of my ridiculous dreams is to go to space.
I love movie making and have a slightly obvious obsession with shooting beautiful footage.
I capture moments in photos, my favourite thing to shoot are portraits.
I also love Instagram, so much that I founded the Official Instagramers South Africa Community in February of 2013.
My favourite colour is yellow and I love cling peaches and mangoes.
I <3 all things creative.

Instagram // twitter // Facebook // Blog

about.me // vimeo // flickr // tumblr

Pinterest // Behance

Website (currently rebranding)

“#Puddlegram Reflections”

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Levon Lock

you blink a few million times and you’re dead | manager of instagramers jozi | iPhone 4s only | south africa

I’m Levon Lock. I live in the sweet city of Jozi, and I love everything creative: From taking photos to writing and recording music, and pretty much everything in between. I have always been interested in photography and used to play around on my Dad’s old SLR when I was a child.

It wasn’t until I got an iPhone that I really fell in love with pictures. The ability to capture something and portray it as how I initially saw it is an incredible feeling.

I like to make ordinary things that people see everyday look epic.

Website // Email //  twitter // Instagram

“Jozi From The Bridge”

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Ofentse Mwase

I’m Ofentse Mwase from Johannesburg, South Africa and I’m a Filmmaker. I’ve been in love with cameras for over 7 years now and I’ve been loving Cinematography ever since.

It all started for me when my oldest brother bought himself a Sony PD170 to shoot music videos with back on 2003, and passed it down to me in late 2005. I shot so much with that camera but it just wasn’t enough for me.

Decided to go to film school in late 2007 and that’s where my love for images was taken to another level. Went and studied Cinematography at AFDA Johannesburg where I got to learn most Theory about lighting and composition. Since then I’ve grown to know so much about pictures and picture taking.

This love for images grew even more when I joined Instagram, this was something I never knew would be so big in my life. Through Instagram I’ve come to know the world around me so much more as every place I’m at, I try to see the best angle to shoot whatever subject is in front of me. This has now grown into a passion, all this inspired by all the great people of the community which I interact with daily. This is one journey that I’ve truly been enjoying, as it’s a great journey of creativity as well as thinking outside the box.

My most favorite time to shoot is Golden Hour, the world truly comes alive around that time and that’s when I can truly express myself when it comes to imagery. I am completely in love with the way the sun bounces off objects and the intensity and beautiful colour of which it does. Hoping that I’ll always be able to capture great moments during sunset to share with everyone in the world. Here’s to more journeys and awesome adventures in Picture taking and making friends.

Website // Instagram //  500px // twitter 

“Super Ree sitting on a Cloud”

Definitely my most favorite picture ever. How I get to spend time with my 1 year old son and his mother who always help me out with my pictures.

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PaulaRoo

Hi, I’m Paula, and I’m a mobile photography addict! Haha!!!

Born and bred in Durban, SA; currently residing in Jozi with my beautiful hubby and two gorgeous step daughters and grateful for this newfound photography passion!

I would love to say that I have a particular style of photography but I can’t! All I do know is that I love playing with different subjects; creating moods by editing with graphics, apps and filters and generally meandering where ever my mind journeys….

This could range anywhere from the ordinary to the quirky; sometimes serious, but mostly playful!

Being part of the IG community is awesome! I have connected with incredibly real, raw, talented people from all over the world and continue to be in awe of the talent out there.

I am honoured to be a guest contributor with Mobile Artistry  and love finding unique and interesting talent that need to be seen!!!

My background and achievements to date cry creative – being involved with the advertising industry for the most part and now currently as a makeup artist.

I have also been made an Ambassador for SA on EyeEm and can’t wait to show the community more about our beautiful country.

I love living in Jozi! It inspires. It is energizing. It is hectic and soulful all at once. Besides, we have Madiba as a historical icon…. say no more!!!

So…. back to that beautiful hubby of mine…. he inspired my photographic historical perspective of buildings in the inner city. His company develops and restores heritage buildings like Stuttafords and Atkinson into affordable rental housing, keeping the facade of history as true as possible and at the same time creating a lifestyle for those less fortunate.

Hope you enjoy! And looking forward to meeting you! PaulaRoo

Email // Instagram // twitter // EyeEm // Kik: paularoo

“Dreaming on the Cliffs of Moher”
I chose this image as my favourite just because it’s most current and because I have not played with editing for a while.

We have also just returned from a magical trip to Ireland and this was a moment of our holiday I never want to forget….. dreaming of returning soon!!!

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Roy Potterill

Man about town. Making it happen since 1982. Johannesburg. 1/2 of Mobile Media Mob

A longtime fixture of the Joburg creative community, Roy has always had an eye for opportunity and a talent for making things happen.

Having got his hands dirty in everything from textiles to tattoo shops, his current passions for photography, technology and emerging markets have seen him rise to fame as an Mobile Photographer, bringing both international exhibition and critical acclaim.

Currently the co-founder and creative wizz at Mobile Media Mob – a visual based mobile content agency, Roy spends his days giving brands a piece of his ever-resourceful mind.

Instagram // Email // Website // tumblr // Mobile Media Mob // twitter

“Wild In The Streets”

—–

Take Us To Toronto

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“Take Us To… ” is an ongoing  travel series around the world which features several photographers in a given location.  The goal is to give you an inside look as to what the city is like day by day.

Last month we traveled to Montevideo and today we fly non-stop to Toronto, the largest city in Canada.

Photographers Erin, Graeme, Ian, Jon, Kael, Kanwar and SooTeeOh take us on a journey throughout downtown, underground TTC, and surrounding areas of Lake Ontario and Cottage Country.

Hop on board Flight #3 and enjoy the ride…

MEET THE PHOTOGRAPHERS

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Erin McGean Cindric

Bio:
I was born in the industrial city St. Catherine’s, grew up in Mississauga and currently live in Oakville, Ontario (a suburb of Toronto). I was trained in painting and drawing at York University in Toronto then attended teacher’s college at Brock University and have been teaching high school Visual Arts and photography for 12 years. I’ve had some success as a painter, exhibiting and selling my work in local galleries and art fairs over the years. I have a wonderful and supportive husband and two beautiful young children that make me proud and keep me busy.

Instagram is something I stumbled upon in November of 2011 and was instantly hooked. Working as a teacher with a young family has limited the time I can commit to art making, so mobile photography and editing has given me a creative outlet that works with my lifestyle. The community aspect of Instagram has made it very enjoyable. I am constantly in awe of other artist’s work that I have come across through Instagram over the least two years. Going on Instameets and recently participating in the Instagratification exhibit with some of my newfound friends has been very rewarding and bought the virtual world to life.  Recently I have become very involved with the AMPt community helping to moderate the website and curate features. I am very excited about the future of mobile photography and see it as a versatile and accessible too. I’ve also found that it has inspired and influenced my painting, drawing and multimedia work. Of course, the reverse is also true.

My mobile photography style ranges all the way from minimalism to heavily edited images, and on my Instagram feed you will find everything from the representational to the surreal. Using an iPhone 4, an Olloclip and various apps (mostly Art Studio, Pic FX, Snapseed, Image Blender, Mextures App and Phonto) I try to create images in a fluid way to achieve some diverse effects. Quiet, lonely, blue and surreal are some terms that can describe the images. I take much of my inspiration from nature, however everything in my daily life can be used a form of inspiration, the roads I drive, my children’s laughter, the design of a good chair.

Email // Instagram  // Google+

There are many things I love about this lighthouse photo.

The way the group of teens are hanging out enjoying the summer day reminds me of my carefree days of youth.

But I also love how the sky looked so blue that day and the backdrop of sailboats and birds.

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Graeme Roy

Bio:
I have been a photographer in one way or another for about 35 years. I’ve worked primarily in news photography most of this time, currently I’m the Director of Photography at The Canadian Press, but I’ve also dabbled in fashion, fine art and music… it’s been a wide and somewhat varied road to where I am now.

Mobile photography has been a profoundly liberating experience for me, and I believe for many others in my profession as well. The ability to shoot, process and share instantly has created a fantastically rich and diverse community of artists/photographers. While the ability to send and receive photos globally has always been part of my work life, this is most certainly not the case for most people and it’s a exciting and invigorating to see what new-found friends are up to around the world each day.

Email // Instagram // EyeEm // twitter // Oggl

“Bow to Me”
As with most of my photos there is no great back story or anything.

I liked the way the light bounced around and the person cast an interesting shadow, as if they were bowing to the great tower in front of them.

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Ian Griffin

Bio:
I grew up in the countryside outside the town of Dundalk on the east coast of Ireland. I moved to Dublin when I was 17 to go to University and ended up living there for 15 years. Although I grew up in the country I was just as happy in the city, quickly adapting to a faster pace of life.

In 2008 I went to Canada on holidays and met my now wife when I was in Toronto. After a year and a half of the torture that is a long distance relationship I moved to Toronto. I have lived in Toronto for over three and a half years now in the city’s Queen West area with my wife Eva and our 2 year old, crazy boxer Cuisle (pronounced “Kushla”).

Although I was living in Ireland’s capital, moving to Toronto was still a huge shock. There are as many people in the Greater Toronto Area as there are in all of Ireland. Although a huge city, I immediately fell in love with Toronto. I find it a very vibrant and “lived in” city. The city does not boast the grand architectural appeal that somewhere like Chicago does, nor does it have a history like Dublin but time spent walking around the neighbourhoods and down by the lake in Toronto really shows you how alive and how diverse the city is.

I first became interested in photography when I spent a year traveling in Australia in 2005. I had a pretty standard point and shoot camera but I quickly became hooked, driving my traveling companions crazy always lagging behind trying to get more shots. A few years later I received an entry level DSLR as a Christmas present from my family which I used when I went on holidays but it primarily became a dust collector. It was really only when I bought an iPhone about a year and a half ago and discovered Instagram that my passion for photography really took off. Now, everywhere I go it is like my head is on a swivel – I find I look at the world in frames. I think mobile photography has had this impact on a lot of people.

Instagram is an amazing and fascinating place. I love the community aspect of it and have been fortunate to meet other IGers from around Toronto, along with IGers from outside Toronto who have visited and even on a recent trip to Chicago I was able to organize a meet up with some people that I had “known” through IG for about a year.

As for my photography style: I’m still trying to find that myself, if you find it please let me know!

Instagram

I am very fortunate to have a wonderful view from my office.

One the days that you get a great sunset here in Toronto, and they are numerous, I have the best view in the city.

I took this photo one evening when in work late.

It was one of the most spectacular sunsets that I have ever seen.

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Jon Rix

Bio:
I live in the city, but I’m a country boy at heart. I was born up north and spent EVERY summer at the cottage. This is still true in a way as I get away every weekend I can escape the job (I work on call in the tech industry).

I discovered photography and Instagram in February 2012. I was posting pictures of Norman to Facebook and someone told me to check out Instagram (they were sick of looking at the Norm pics). Norman is my english bulldog. At first, all the pictures I took were just of Norman. Then I slowly started trying other things I saw on Instagram. I was inspired by all the great photography I was seeing everyday. It gave me confidence to try things that felt right to my eye, but I had never tried before. I still love taking pictures of Norman but I don’t post that many as I like to change things up in my feed.

I do not have 1 common theme or edit process. Every time I edit I try different things/apps depending on the photo. I shoot in camera+ and edit in Snapseed/VSCO/PicFx/Afterlight to name a few. I will avoid posting 2 black and white photos in a row, or 2 looking up shots in a row as best I can. I also do my best to find new areas to shoot in and not post the same shot/spot over and over. My favourite things to take pictures are of people and landscapes, although I do not get to see that many landscapes in the city. I do this as a hobby and love it. I always have a phone on me due to my job so it’s nice to be able to capture some of the things I see daily and share it with all the great people I’ve met on Instagram.

Email // Instagram

“Westbound”

This is one of my fav pictures of the TTC because it is one of the first I took.

I was paying attention to his bag.

Where is he going? What is in it? Where does he live? Is he visiting?

The motion of the train really made me see the possibilities of telling a story with a image, as well as giving me ideas of shooting my commutes to/from work.

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Kael Rebick

Bio:
I spend my days walking the streets of Toronto looking for beauty in the small things. There is so much beauty everywhere and if you don’t take the time to soak it all in, you might miss it.

I started taking photos of my father’s garden in 2005 with a little camera I found in a drawer. I developed quite a love for capturing beauty that way but it wasn’t until I got my first iPhone that it became a true passion.

I was thrilled to discover IG in April, 2010. It was a place to post my photos and also an incredible community. Since I downloaded the app, I don’t think I’ve looked at the world the same way. There truly is so much beauty everywhere.

I have chosen to photograph the Cedarvale Ravine. It is a hidden treasure in Toronto… a slice of country in the middle of the city. It’s an example of nature’s perfection all year round.

I take all my photos with my iPhone 5. I do very little editing to most of my images, but my favourite apps to use are, HDR Pro, Snapseed, Picfx and Photofx. I seem to focus primarily on colour and framing and most of all, beauty.

Email // Instagram // We Are Juxt

I’ve chosen a photo of the ravine from autumn as my favourite.

The ravine is a magical place for so many reasons.

One of the most incredible things about it is how it changes from season to season.

I love it all year but I think it is most beautiful in the fall.

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Kanwar Sandhu

Bio:
It all started in June of 2011, when I had first heard rumors of this photography app called ‘Instagram.’ I have always enjoyed photography as a hobby and since getting my hands on IG, it has become more of an obsession!

I come from the suburbs of Toronto (Mississauga) and try to get out to the city as much as I can to take a break from studying. I find it extremely therapeutic to get ‘lost’ in the city streets and underground pathways.  If there were a concrete description for my photographic style, it would probably be melancholy. lol. Nothing makes me more happy than taking pictures of dark and dramatic symmetrical architecture with an ambient feel. Of course listening to ambient electronica completes the mood :]

Instagram // twitter // website

“Darkness Falls”

It was the most haunting sky I had ever seen. Huge, ominous clouds on one side of the city and the setting sun on the other.

The CN Tower was lit up like a fiery beacon against the clouds and till this day, remains my favourite picture.

It also helps that a bird flew into the shot ;]

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SoTeeOh

Bio:

I am incredibly passionate about the city of Toronto. Conventional wisdom would label me a street photographer, but that would be inaccurate. I am a Toronto street photographer. I have no desire to shoot anything aside from the subjects that can be found within the boundaries of this city. My work is largely self exploratory. I reinterpret this city’s structures and environments to represent emotions, intentions and people that hold meaning in my life.

Email // website // Instagram // twitter // Facebook // YouTube

“Sunset Rock”

View of the city from a quiet bird sanctuary east of the downtown core where I like to go to get away from things.

Take Us to Montevideo

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“Take Us To… ” is an ongoing  travel series around the world which features several photographers in a given location.  The goal is to give you an inside look as to what the city is like day by day.

Last month we flew you to Chicago, and today, Flight #2 takes you to Montevideo – the capital city of Uruguay.

On this trip photographers, Ana, Denny, Federico R., Federico S., and Fernanda show us their favorite areas of Montevideo.  After viewing the video, please take a moment to read more about each photographer and see what they love most about their city.

Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride…

MEET THE PHOTOGRAPHERS

Ana Paula Rondán

Bio:  My name is Ana Paula Rondán, I am 24 years old. I work as a model for many years and currently am a fashion producer as well.  I was born in a small village, of 900 habitants in the center of the Oriental Republic in Uruguay.  I had a beautiful childhood surrounded by nature and pure air.

About the photo set: 

Photo1: Feria de Villa Biarritz/Villa Biarritz market.  In this type of business we can buy cheeses, grains, olive oil of artisanal and organic origin.

Photo2: Feria de Parque Rodo/Parque Rodo market.  Typical business of cold meat and cheeses.  They use little packaging and many others are recyclable.  For example: the eggs are wrapped in everyday paper.  You can also bring your own jars and they will fill with cream cheese, sweets, etc.  It is normal one asks to have a taste before buying.

Photo3: Feria vecinal/Neighborhood market.  The neighborhood markets are very popular in Uruguay.  It is an ecological way to consume.  Fortunately many Uruguayan families prefer the markets rather than the large supermarkets.

Photo4: Parada de ómnibus/Bus stop. I take this bus everyday and it stops at the door of my house.  It’s route.

Photo5: La señora/The woman.  Also went to the market.

Photo6: Typical street of my neighborhood in Parque Rodo.  In my neighborhood the houses aren’t high and old.  Have plenty of “platanus” and “Jacarandá”.

Photo7: Castillo del Parque Rodó – Library María Stagnero de Munar. Located in the center of the park 100meters from the beach.

Photo8: I really like boat trips.  This man works everyday in the park.

Photo9: Parque Rodo/Rodo Park. There are many businesses that make “churros” in my neighborhood but his one in particular stands out for serving “churros” with cheese.

Photo 10: Parque Rodo. My neighborhood also has games with views of the beach.  Every weekend people come from all parts of Montevideo to enjoy the park and the games.

Bio:  My name is Ana Paula Rondán, am 24 years old.  I work as a model for many years and am now a fashion producer as well.  I was born in a very small village, of 900 habitants in the center of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay.  I had a beautiful childhood surrounded by nature and pure air.

Contact: Twitter // Instagram // Facebook

1.  Are you originally from Montevideo? What is your line of profession?  And how does it influence your photography?

I was born in Cardona in the department of Soriano, Uruguay.

I work as a professional model for more than 10 years.  I also directed a fashion magazine for two years and nowadays work as a fashion producer, besides working as a model.  In taking part in all of these productions, along my career, I started to feel a certain attraction for photography and the truth is I began to experiment when Instagram entered my life last year.

2.  What do you feel makes Montevideo unique?

Montevideo is a very calm city, with a very big coastline which plays a significant part in the mood of the Uruguayans   In appearance, it is a city of the past. Its architecture is very old, and so are the automobiles.  Something that makes Uruguayans unique is that everyone drinks “mate” all the time and everywhere, this calls much attention to the people who visit from other countries.

Es una casa de herramientas en el bosque  de Lussich en Portezuelo,  Maldonado, Uruguay.

3.  What is your favorite typical dish?  Is there a local restaurant which you recommend that serves it just the way you like it?

My favorite food is the “chivito” of Bar Sporting.  It is a bar en Parque Rodo managed by its owners.

4.  Is there a place which you classify as a “hidden gem”?

Twice a week in every neighborhood of Montevideo we have large markets of fresh fruits and vegetables, cheap and many of them are organic.

5.  What tip would you give to someone traveling to Montevideo for the first time?

Personally I recommend not looking for big parties and bars.

6.  How would you describe the people of Montevideo?

The people of Uruguay are very kind, charming and very relaxed.  The big river greatly influences the Uruguayan’s personality.

Las Toscas.

Este balneario queda a 30 minutos de Montevideo, en el kilómetro 47.5.

Es una de mis playas favoritas.  Hay un ambiente muy familiar  y tranquilo.

7. Have you had any professional training in photography?

No, I am not a photographer.  I take pictures for pleasure.

8.  Are you involved with any collaborations or projects you’d like to share?  

No.

9.  If you’re not taking photographs, you are… 

These days I am making frames with flowers that I have collected, dehydrated and have kept throughout the summer.

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Denny Brechner

About the photo set:  Day and night by the sea.

Bio:  Born in Montevideo in 1983, lived in Uruguay, Israel, London and Shanghai.   Studied Film in College where I directed the documentary, “The Big Trip”, about Israeli soldiers travelling after finishing the army.  After school I worked in several film projects. Now am established in Montevideo, working as a freelance photographer.

Contact: Instagram // Twitter

 

1.  Are you originally from Montevideo? What is your line of profession?  And how does it influence your photography?

I’m from Montevideo. I am working with a software company in the chinese market. My photography was influenced  by all the travels, making street photography one of my favorite areas.

2.  What do you feel makes Montevideo unique?

I feel Montevideo is unique for its rhythm, being very peaceful for a capital.

Untitled

3.  What is your favorite typical dish?  Is there a local restaurant which you recommend that serves it just the way you like it?

Chivito and Milanesa. La pasiva is a good place for local food

4.  Is there a place which you classify as a “hidden gem”?

Not really.

5.  What tip would you give to someone traveling to Montevideo for the first time?

Montevideo doesn’t have super famous spots, it is generally the vibe what makes it unique. You need a few days to see it.

6.  How would you describe the people of Montevideo?

Well educated, humble, peaceful.

Untitled

7.  Have you had any professional training in photography?

I started as a professional last year working with some magazines.

8.  Are you involved with any collaborations or projects you’d like to share?  

Not yet.

9.  If you’re not taking photographs, you are… 

Playing soccer, diving and cooking.

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Federico Racchi 

About the photo set:  Montevideo is a small port city which lives and looks to the sea. As a lucky “montevideano”, I grew up living one block from the “Rambla” of “Punta Carretas”, then moved to “Buceo” and finally to “Pocitos”, living always only a couple of blocks from the sea. This place is like our backyard. We have experienced many things there, first football shoots, swimming, fishing, kissing, drinking “mates”, beer or having our first cigarette and more… A magical place from which to observe calm and feel relaxed.

Bio:  I work and live in Montevideo as a graphic designer and freelance photographer. I have lived a few years away from my hometown, first in Dominican Republic and then in New York. In 2009 I came into photography and started going out to the streets looking for emotions, lifestyle and anthropological shapes of the city and citizens.

Contact: Instagram // Twitter // Flickr // Website

1.  Are you originally from Montevideo? What is your line of profession?  And how does it influence your photography?

I live and work in Montevideo as a graphic designer. My career has taken me to the visual art field and experiment with all kind of cameras, film, lomo, dslr, mostly while on vacation or other travel experiences. Besides, I have lived a few years in Dominican Republic and New York.

2.  What do you feel makes Montevideo unique?

The city which looks at the sea, the mild climate and the people which I think have a taste, education and creativity in all art levels, like music and poetry for example making Montevideo, with its 1.5 million people, unique.

Untitled 

3.  What is your favorite typical dish?  Is there a local restaurant which you recommend that serves it just the way you like it?

The typical dish here is the ‘asado’ (meat ribs), you can have it at any ‘parrillada’, but for me the best in town is called ‘La Otra’ in Pocitos neighborhood. Also you can have the most tourist experience, going down town to ‘El Mercado del Puerto’.

Besides, you can find fresh fish everywhere 🙂

4.  Is there a place which you classify as a “hidden gem”?

There is a dock in the Buceo’s bay thats is a gem and another one in ‘Punta Brava’ .

5.  What tip would you give to someone traveling to Montevideo for the first time?

Well I think like in most other cities, it is in food workers where you will find the real answers about the city. However one tip I can give is to don’t miss the ‘Tambores’ experience (F. Sardi will tell you for sure). Because like my friend @pendehooo tattoo says “Music is the answer” and Films too!!!

Some Uruguayan films you must see are: “25watts”, “Whisky”, “El Baño del Papa”.

6.  How would you describe the people of Montevideo?

I think we are simple middle class people, with stronger values in social justice and compromise in politics. We are very extreme in our beliefs as well as very passionate for soccer….hehehe.

We are quite conservative in our way of dressing but very forward thinking in topics like equal same sex marriage and legal abortion rights. Besides our country has innovated education by the “one laptop per child” program, from which we feel really proud.

7.  Have you had any professional training in photography?

Not in depth, but during my graphic designer graduate degree we had a couple of courses to introduce us to the photography field, which we then experienced for most of our projects.

Untitled 

8.  Are you involved with any collaborations or projects you’d like to share?  

I took part in the 24 hour project in March. It was an amazing experience which you can check in the post by @Koci, which was published in here. Besides, I’m about to start the 100strangers on flickr group to improve the streets conversations. On the other hand, I also have a food project in progress, together with my chef and designer friends.

9.  If you’re not taking photographs, you are… 

While taking photos and or not I spend the time with my love @marusilva and my dog #edmalab. We enjoy walking by the beach everyday. And I have an obsession with auteur cinema, like watching 7 to 10 films a week.

——————–

Federico Sardi

About the photo set:  My passion with mobile photography began almost accidentally. As an orchestra musician I travel a lot to study and perform abroad. As I’m always carrying my instrument, accesories, music stand and lots of scores, the only camera I can carry with me is my iPhone. I started documenting all my travels with that little device and found that its camera could get in many places where a “real camera” could not. That’s where my passion for street photography started.
After coming back to Uruguay I started looking at it with “tourist eyes”.  I started discovering new details every day, just like if I was visiting a new country. From that moment on I’ve been photographing Montevideo daily, getting to know its architecture, its people, its little secrets from a completely different perspective. Through candids I’m capturing slices of life, I’m documenting life from an artistic point of view.

Thanks to my camera-phone, I discovered a new passion I couldn’t live without; photography.  I think these pictures are a good sample of what I want to portray; fractions of a second of the life of ordinary people, doing ordinary things, that turn into magic… into an honest (but nonetheless artistic) documentation of life, here and now, as seen through my eyes.

Bio:  Federico Sardi is a bassoonist of the Montevideo Philarmonic and OSSODRE orchestras, a passionate iPhoneographer and a MPA Honorable Mention (Performing Arts 2013)

EyeEm ambassador: @federicosardiInstagramers Uruguay‘s manager, Instagram Artistry moderator, Mobile Artistry contributor & AMPt member

Contact: Instagram: @federicosardi & @estopasaya // Backspaces: @federicosardi // Twitter: @SardiFederico // Blog: http://iPhoneografiaBN.tumblr.com

1.  Are you originally from Montevideo? What is your line of profession?  And how does it influence your photography?

I was born in Montevideo, in November 1990, and I’m a professional musician. I’m a bassoonist of the Montevideo Philharmonic and OSSODRE (National Symphony) orchestras.

Music is one way of expressing myself, photography is just another one. It is something that I need to do almost as much as make music. When my job gets too demanding and stressful or when I feel I’m not having enough “artistic freedom” (as an orchestra musician is more or less a soldier under the conductor’s command), I tend to shoot even more, as a way to find a balance over my “artistic needs”.

I’d rather learn from one bird how to sing than to teach ten thousand stars how not to dance – – E. E. Cummings 

2.  What do you feel makes Montevideo unique?

The beautiful “rambla” (promenade) by the Río de la Plata and the Ciudad Vieja (Old City) neighborhood are emblems of the city.

The Ciudad Vieja keeps all Montevideo’s oldest secrets in its ancient buildings, narrow streets and beautiful plazas. It has a huge concentration of offices and government buildings and its also always full of turists what makes that part of the city a gem for street photographers.

Tango (as many other “urban music styles”) was born in the outskirts of Ciudad Vieja, close to the docks where the poor people found a way to express their pain and nostalgia through dance and music. It still has some “dark” areas that I think contribute to its magic.

La Rambla which frames the southern part of our city is a beautiful place to take a walk or just enjoy the view of the Rio de la Plata and the beautiful summer sunsets over the water.

I’ve put up a Foursquare list with must-see places of Montevideo (historical, turistic, bars and restaurants) that won the Foursquare Cities contest.  If you use Foursquare and have the chance to visit our city you can even get the Mateína badge by checking on 5 of those places too!

3.  What is your favorite typical dish?  Is there a local restaurant which you recommend that serves it just the way you like it?

There are many typical dishes. I should say that “asado” is the principal. My personal favourite is Chivito. If you want to know what a Chivito is, you’ll definetly have to see what Anthony Bourdain has to say about it.

If you want to eat asado you’ll definetly have to go to Mercado del Puerto on Ciudad Vieja (listed on the Foursquare list), that is a huge old food “market” that has many “parrilladas”, the places where asado is best made. About chivitos, I’d recommend you to try chivitos in every bar and restaurant until you find the one that you like the best. Every place has some disctintive way of preparing chivitos. My favourite chivito will most likely be the next to come!

4.  Is there a place which you classify as a “hidden gem”?

I think Montevideo is full of “hidden gems”, it’s just a matter of being adventurous and looking for those gems. If you saw the full Anthony Bourdain episode on Uruguay you’ll surelly know what I’m talking about.

If you come to visit Montevideo you’ll have to visit Palermo and Barrio Sur neighborhoods to hear some candombe (a beautiful rhythm  legacy of the slaves, that used to call eachother with the sound of the drums), and visit the Feria de Tristán Narvaja (Sunday mornings), a traditional flea market in which you can find anything from old wrecked cameras and used clothes, from fine antiques and first editions of old books that may worht thousands but be misslabeled at just a few dollars. Great place for street photography too!

5.  What tip would you give to someone traveling to Montevideo for the first time?

If you’re adventurous, go off the “prestablished tourist route”. Learn the codes of the city, dress like a local, go out and explore! Most distances in Montevideo are short so grab a map (traveler tip: take screenshots of the places you’re planning on visiting on the map application and use that. Don’t rely on wifi networks! You wont’ find many) and go explore!

There are a few more tourist tips on the interview I gave to the romanian site TukTuk.

6.  How would you describe the people of Montevideo?

I always describe and “judge” the people of a city when I’m there as a tourist. Can’t say the same about Montevideo, but I’d like to think that people is gentle and always willing to help a lost tourist!

I believe that the best way to get to know the people of Montevideo without actually visiting the city is through candid portraits. You can take a look at my feed on Instagram or EyeEm and Federico Racchi’s feed on Instagram to see candid portraits of our people from two different perspectives.

7.  Have you had any professional training in photography?

No, my passion for photography began with my iPhone. Since I discovered the world of mobile and iPhone photography (iPhoneography, coining Glyn Evans therminology) I’ve been self teaching myself by constantly shooting and reading all I can find, exploiting all the resources that internet provides.

I’m actively involved on the iPhoneography world, beta testing apps, taking pictures (literally) every day and diving in many many projects. I found a new passion and I’m serious about it. I’m putting as much effort on it as I do on music.

Going back to what was asked, I attended one of the excellent online Mobile Photo Workshops (the one on street photography) by Anton Kawasaki and Sion Fullana. I must say I absolutely loved it. It was also a great thing to be able to have them following closely your work, interacting with you and making full use of what technollogy has to offer. Most of the “action” regarding mobile and iPhone photography is happening in the US and on Europe in a smaller degree. It’s very hard to us, south americans, to be a part of it so I celebrate Anton and Sion’s decision to make the workshops online. They’re planning on bringing back the workshops soon, so stay tuned!

Pity the country that needs heroes – – Bertold Brecht 

8.  Are you involved with any collaborations or projects you’d like to share?  

I’m managing Instagramers Uruguay, the local igers network and that allows me to enlarge the mobile community by encouraging igers to use their mobile phones. That is a huge satisfaction, but it also takes a huge amount of work and effort. One of the main short term goals with@igersuruguay is to make a first mobile photography exhibition. On Instagram I’m also moderating the Instagram Artistry account (@ig_artistry) and contributing to Mobile Artistry (@mobileartistry).

I’m also an EyeEm ambassador but haven’t started anything in Uruguay yet, because I may be moving to Düsseldorf, Germany for a while, so that will be a great opportunity to start something there (although the language barrier would make things hard, I think it would be a great experience). I have to confess that I’d really love to work with the guys at EyeEm, the potential of the platform is amazing, and I found that there is a great team behind it. Can’t wait to meet them in person. I’m also on the process of becoming a Juxter (that’s supposed to be a secret…right?). I love what the community is doing and I’d love to collaborate with some bilingual content (spanish and english) to make everything mobile accesible to even more people around the globe. I also discovered recently that I really enjoy writing, so I’ll definetly be doing that more often!

9.  If you’re not taking photographs, you are… 

If I’m not taking photographs, I’m listening or making music (not only classical!) or I’m working endless hours on all my Apple devices (yes, I use a MacBook Pro, an iPad and two) iPhones  to manage, moderate and contribute to the different communities I’m into, besides processing and uploading my own images. I used to read a lot but now I barely have time to keep up with everything that’s going on on my life. On Sundays (every two weeks) I meet a group of crazy music lovers to play a music game that has a history of 60 plus years on Uruguay. In this meetings a host plays a carefully curated selection of classical pieces for the attendance to guess who composed them. Almost non of them are musicians, but their level of knowledge is absolutely unveliavable. Now I’m starting to think that interviewing and photographing them could actually be a great project to get involved into!

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Fermontoro

About the photo set:  I lived abroad for many years, and each time I would come to visit my home city I was surprised to see its cars. Montevideo remains a treasure of the past and, within it, a treasure of cars ‘with character’. So I started to work on a series of photos taken with the iPhone, based on those cars and the portraits behind them. This is a selection of the ongoing series.

Bio:  Fernanda Montoro was born in Montevideo, Uruguay. During the process of making documentaries, Fernanda discovered her passion for photography. Today she lives and works as a photographer between London and Montevideo, using mainly vintage Polaroid cameras. Her limited edition prints and original polaroid work have been exhibited in galleries around the world and published in numerous magazines and books.

Contact: Website // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

1.  Are you originally from Montevideo? What is your line of profession?  And how does it influence your photography?

I was born and raised in Montevideo but I lived most of my adult life abroad. I am a photographer and I work mainly with Polaroid and analogue cameras. Photography is an important part of my life.

2.  What do you feel makes Montevideo unique?

I think Montevideo combines the buzz of a capital city with the feel of a small town. Add to that mix long stretches of coastline, architectonic treasures and very laid back people.

Rosas Rojas

3.  What is your favorite typical dish?  Is there a local restaurant which you recommend that serves it just the way you like it?

I’m vegetarian and Uruguay is a famous meat- eating country. In the past there haven’t been many options for me to eat-out! But luckily things are rapidly changing now. No fave veggie place yet, but more options than before, especially in the old city.

4.  Is there a place which you classify as a “hidden gem”?

I often go to “El Faro” de Punta Carretas to watch the sunset. It’s a good vantage point, and usually there are only a few fishermen and lots of stray cats at that time of the day.

5.  What tip would you give to someone traveling to Montevideo for the first time?

Watch your bag, cameras and walk. It’s a beautiful city to discover by foot.

6.  How would you describe the people of Montevideo?

I think in general people are friendly and open to conversation. Not very used to foreigners though.

7.  Have you had any professional training in photography?

No, I’m a Self-Taught Photographer. I had professional training in film making.

Ana Paula 

8.  Are you involved with any collaborations or projects you’d like to share?

I am currently working with my partner Agustin Ferrando on a video series about Uruguay, which broadcasts on YouTube on Mondays: Tiranos Temblad.  It reflects Uruguay idiosyncrasy, so I would recommend it to people who want to know more about our culture. Photography-wise I am working on two new series of photographs and also on a book, a collaboration with my writer friend Fernanda Trias. It’s taking us long but we are enjoying the process.

9.  If you’re not taking photographs, you are…

I’m enjoying being back home, spending time with Agustin, making and watching videos with him, cooking, playing videogames or reading.

I’d like to thank the photographers for showing us their wonderful city and for being a part of this series. Hopefully one day I’ll get to visit 🙂 – Bridgette

Take Us To Chicago

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Bridgette‘s Introduction

The beauty of photography is that it brings everyone one step closer to each other.  Not only does it have the ability to open our minds and our vision but it also makes it possible for us to see the world at any given moment.

Since joining the world of photo and social sharing, I have been “meeting” people from all around the world, that live in places that I categorize as, “have been to”, “not  yet discovered” or “wish to discover”.

When I first joined Instagram, I searched for cities that I had recently traveled to and started following some local photographers in the area.  It was my way of revisiting those cities without having to actually fly.  But then it got me thinking that I’m certainly not alone on this quest.  There are billions of people that love to travel and there are those who have never left their hometown.

Every month, a different city from around the world will be showcased by photographers who are not only exceptional artists but also community leaders, from all walks of life.  My aim is to feature photographers who I feel share a true representation of their city, from a local’s point of view.

I hope you enjoy our first stop to Chicago aka the “Windy City”.

So please… relax, sit back and enjoy the ride…

—–

Please take a moment to learn more about Chicago and the photographers featured. 
Fayth = F, Ivan = I, Jason = J, Ruth = R, Ryan = Ry

Where are you originally from? How long have you lived in Chicago and what do you do for a living?

F:  My early childhood was in Chicago, but I grew up in Los Angeles, CA.  I’ve lived in Chicago since 1995.  I am Principal Director of Operations at a technology consulting firm.

I:  I’m Puerto Rican, born and raised in Chicago’s Mexican community, La Villita/Little Village. I’m an actor and co-founding executive director of UrbanTheater Company (UTC), a non-for-profit based in Humboldt Park. I also work for Food For Thought catering as well as other jobs here and there for supplemental income.

J: I am from Phoenix, Arizona. I lived in downtown NYC for 20 years and relocated to the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago 2 years ago. I am the chief creative officer of Havas – a 400 person full service advertising and marketing company.

R:  I’m a lifelong Chicagoan. I’ve tried to escape from the harsh winters many times but Chicago is home. I’m a film editor who has the good fortune to work on many types of projects, including commercials and independent films. Most of my career has been spent editing commercials shot the classic way, on 35mm film.

Ry:  I am originally from Seattle, WA but moved to Chicago when I was 13. I have now lived in Chicago for 17 years. I am a film editor/producer and now specialize in the healthcare field.

How does your profession influence your photography? Are there any other interests which attribute to your love of photography?

F:  In general my profession has no relation to my photography.  I have had a love of photography since childhood.  Music, modern art, architecture, journalism, photojournalism, and social psychology are all interests of mine, and I’d say they all directly or indirectly influence my photography.

Old Style Jazz by Fayth 

I:  My first love is theater/acting, but it ties in perfectly with my love for photography. It’s a perfect platform to express my creativity, plus, they both carry the commonality of storytelling. I’m fascinated with peoples journey. Everyone is on a path to get somewhere and I’m very intrigued with how they’re getting where they are going.

J:  Advertising is all about social media. I tell all my clients and employees that if you can’t succeed at social media platforms for yourself then how do you expect to do it for brands. I use shooting photos on IG as white noise therapy for my crazy hectic day. I usually disappear at lunch time to shoot shots. My assistant recently told me an intern asked why she saw me kneeling down in a Chicago alley with my iPhone.

R:  My profession makes me appreciate the extreme attention to detail in much of the cinematography that I’m exposed to. But there are large teams of highly creative professionals who bring those images to the screen. My photography, in contrast, is very random, unplanned, lit only by the sun or other available light and really does rely on what I happen to ‘come across along the way.’  For me, the lack of ‘production’ and the focus on a quiet and still image, rather than a moving one with sound and music, makes photography really feel like a peaceful hobby and not ‘work.’

I love process and detail, architecture and travel, the human figure, light and geometric shapes, and also technology, and all of this comes together in my photography.

Ry: Photography is something I did professionally for a number of years early in my career. Corporate work became stale and uncreative and I ended up focusing my work in film editing instead. My current work in producing and editing moving images is extremely related to composing a photograph and I try to take the same approach in both avenues: let the image speak for itself as much as possible. My main focus is to edit as minimally as I can.

With the changes to Instagram and the emergence/popularity of other apps, do you feel as if your interest to connect with the mobile community has remained the same or changed? Are you as active on these sites as you were when you first started sharing photos?

F:  Instagram was a much smaller global community when I started using it in 2010 – about 1 million. It was much easier to connect with people who were genuinely interested in mobile creatively through Instagram. Along with the changes to Instagram itself, came millions of users who use the app in less creative or thoughtful ways.  That, coupled with the uncertainty of Facebook’s impact drove me to at least try other apps as a backup. I definitely became more interested in connecting with the mobile community outside of Instagram, but I’m not as active on other sites or apps as I am or back when I first started using Instagram.

I:  My interest is still the same as when I first started experimenting with mobile photography on Instagram about a one year in a half ago. Change is good and you have to adapt, but it definitely does not stop me from continuing to stretch myself outside my comfort zones. It’s all about learning and growing in everything I do. Instagram is my main photo sharing app, but there are other apps that I use such as EyeEm and Tadaa to name a couple.

J:  For IG it’s the same just a bigger scale. It always had the same pros and cons they just get louder as it grows. I like EyeEm, it’s the best next to IG. I tried them all, Tadaa is cool. Starmatic has a cool thing going. The rest are whatever.

North Avenue Beach by Jason

R:  Over time, I find that my interest in mobile photography and the various apps that I use for photo sharing keeps evolving. What I ‘see’ or wish to ‘see’ keeps changing and over time my desire to share keeps changing too. For me, it is critical that posting on IG and EyeEm and other apps remains feeling fresh and unconstrained so that it never feels like ‘work.’ I post less often than I did when I first started. I think it’s for various reasons, including time constraints and that I find it harder and harder to find a shot that feels original.

I still love to connect with the mobile community. I am inspired by the creativity of others in some way every day. IG has gotten so big, with so many users, that I often find myself unable to keep up and to enjoy the beautiful work of so many others. That’s what I love about EyeEm, for example, it’s a much smaller community, more intimate and for me the focus is really more on the photography itself and less on the social aspects.

Ry: Instagram is a constantly evolving community and it certainly is very different from what it was over 2 years ago. Change is good. Competitive apps are good. It keeps us challenging ourselves in and we should never be complacent. With that said, I find it difficult to manage more than one app. My involvement has grown over the years and I find the most satisfaction from going to meet ups and meeting complete strangers to find inspiration.

Have you had any professional training in photography? What devices/cameras do you use most?

F:  I had taken general photography classes long ago, and was trained on an old Hasselblad medium format film camera by a friend who is a photographer. I have a few friends who are professional photographers in media and entertainment, so in some ways I feel as though I’m constantly being trained each time I need help – particularly for dark-lit or night photography.  Which is great!  Primarily I use a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 (I prefer a big screen), shooting with the Fotor app.  I also use a Nikon DSLR, but less and less frequently for Instagram posts. Most of my editing is on an iPad or on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2.

I:  I have not had any formal training in photography. What I know today, I’ve learned on my own, while being inspired by others and their work. While in college at Roosevelt University, I bought my first camera. It was a Nikon D60 film camera. Since then, I’ve never stopped taking photos. It came naturally to me. I’ve always enjoyed capturing moments and being able to instantaneously document how I see the world around me. After going through many digital point and shoot cameras, I purchased a Nikon D80 from a good friend and a very talented photographer, Anthony Aicardi. I’m currently looking to upgrade my equipment and take things to another level. In the meantime, the device I use most often is my convenient and unobtrusive iPhone4S.

J:  iPhone only. I did get a tripod for Xmas but don’t usually lug it around. I took photography through college. I have shot every format in the past and have a closet full of expensive equipment I haven’t touched in 3 years.

 

R:  I have not had any professional training in still photography, per se, but I did go to a very theoretical film school where we shot 16mm film. Plus, I’ve been working with gorgeous imagery for my entire career. I take all my pictures with my iPhone 4s or with my Nikon DSLR.

Ry: I had quite a few photography classes in high school and college, and I even taught a couple in college, but nothing compares to just grabbing a camera and challenging yourself. I am certain that my photo-a-day project I did a few years back taught me more about photography than any class I’ve taken. I use a Canon 7D for my non-iPhone work.

#theresultofmissingthetrain by Ryan 

Fayth is a manIger for the @IgersChicago team. Have you joined any of their (or other group’s) photowalks/events? Am curious… have you all met each other in person?

F:  Luke (@agentluke) was the very first person to reach out to me when I first launched IGers Chicago!  We became friends before the first instameet, and we have been friends ever since. In terms of everyone else who is being featured on We Are Juxt from Chicago, everyone has attended instameets except Ruth, and we know each other through Instagram.

I:  I have been on several photo-walks with Fayth and others from @IgersChicago. It’s been great to meet and connect with a diverse group of mobile photographers through this “little” photo sharing app called Instagram.

J:  I have gone to a few. I like all those people they are a diverse group all centered around love of photography. I met @ryanpostel and @kevinkuster through Chicago IG and consider them friends.

R:  I have not participated in any of the IgersChicago events..yet. I really look forward to meeting some of Chicago’s incredible talent. My free time is limited and I love the quiet of taking pictures alone. Interestingly enough, I have met Ryan Postel. We met through IG when we were both relatively new and I hired him to help me edit a feature-length documentary that I was working on at the time. It was a great pleasure and my luck to have met Ryan through IG.

Ry: I have attended nearly every Chicago meet up over the last year and a half. I really love them. I have met everyone in this feature and call these people my friends. Chicago has such a solid group of talented IGers and we are very open and collaborative.

What tip would you give anyone traveling to Chicago for the first time? Is there a place that you consider a “hidden gem”?

F:  The tip I’d give someone on their first visit to Chicago would be: Bring walking shoes because Chicago is best experienced by walking from neighborhood to neighborhood, or hopping on public transit and seeing as much as possible.  Despite all the news hype about crime in Chicago, there are really only a handful of pockets of the city where the majority of crime occurs, and one would have to go out of their way to find it.

There are a ton of hidden gems in the is city depending on one’s interests.  For staying on the beaten path, the Alfred Caldwell Lilly Pool is definitely a gem.  It’s adjacent to the Lincoln Park Zoo, but few people, including Chicagoans, know it’s there. Built in the 1930’s, it is touted as a premier example of Prairie style landscape design which functions as a bird sanctuary with winding paths surrounding a lily pond with a wooden shelter designed in the architectural Prairie style on one side of the pond.

Off the beaten path, the Pilsen neighborhood is Chicago’s hidden gem because it was one of the only neighborhoods that withstood the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Now home for many artists, this neighborhood is not glitzy or even very well maintained, but for an Instagramer with an eye for historic architecture, this it’s definitely a hidden gem.

I:  Exploring downtown is a must, but if you want to take advantage of the diversity, history, food and rich culture Chicago has to offer, do yourself a favor and visit: Humboldt Park, Logan Square, Pilsen and Hyde Park. I really like the West Loop in the Near West Side of Chicago. It’s very industrial area with a wonderful and gritty playground.

J:  Lower Wacker is the best. Also wake up early before everyone is up. Also don’t be showy with your iPhone, Chicago is a tough town.

R: Chicago is a city of hidden gems. The beauty is everywhere. I would tell any travelers to not miss the obvious beauties: downtown’s skyscrapers, the Lakefront, Millennium Park, The Art Institute but to also take the time to explore Chicago’s ethnically and culturally diverse neighborhoods and to eat their way across the city. Some of the greatest food in the world is right here.

Some of my favorite gems include the view of Chicago’s skyline from Montrose or Diversey Harbors, the stairwell in the Museum of Contemporary Art and Jeanne Gang’s Nature Boardwalk Pavilion in Lincoln Park. It looks like nothing until you stand inside it and see the perfectly framed skyline. I would also really recommend a summertime kayak tour of downtown along the Chicago River. There really is nothing like the view of Chicago from there.

Nature Boardwalk Pavilion by Ruth 

Ry:I would say go up and down the Lakefront as far as you can. Most people take for granted the beautiful parks and views from Evanston all the way down to Hyde Park.

Name one thing you love and dislike about Chicago?

F:  The one thing I love about Chicago is that is an amazing “walking city”.  Walking throughout this lively city of architecture, a variety of neighborhoods, the lakefront, and urban life is fantastic.

The one thing I hate is that the best weekend escapes from Chicago involve a flight. I guess I was spoiled as a Californian since there are a number of good weekend escapes within driving distance up and down the coast or to the mountains.  In Chicago, in order to get into better weather or a place with as much creative diversity and nightlife, you pretty much need to fly out.

I:  It is hard to pick just one. I love Chicago’s food, architecture, history and the many different neighborhood’s that exist throughout the city. I dislike Chicago’s pay box’s hands down, which you will find everywhere.

J:  I love the modest Midwestern work ethic. I hate winter.

R:  I love Chicago. It’s a city of great contradictions and Chicagoans are no exception. Tough and real and proud, both honest and corrupt, but with a real soft spot for beauty. I dislike the weather. It is Chicago’s greatest contradiction.

Ry: I love how alive Chicago becomes with street and music fests in the summer. I hate the negative 20 degree winter days.

If you could pack your bags and escape for a week or two, where would you go? And why?

F:  I would go to Vancouver, British Columbia because it is everything packed into one diverse yet small, city.  What I mean is, there’s urban living, rainforests, beaches, and mountains all in one beautiful place.  Everything is easily accessible and there are people there from around the globe.  It’s naturally beautiful, yet has a vibrant urban atmosphere.

I:  I would go to Paris with my wife, then make our way to Florence, Italy; Barcelona, Spain and then end our stay in Santorini, Greece. These are places that encompass rich culture, tradition, history and food. As you can tell, these are common themes that I’m drawn to.

J:  Palm Springs. I love the desert.

R:  I’m ready for a long trip to Asia. Japan or China or Thailand or India. I’ve never been east of Turkey and Israel.

Ry: Thailand. Not really sure why, but that’s where I would go in a heart beat.

Have you been involved with any collaborations or projects? Is there anything you’re working on at the moment (related to photography or not) that you’d like to share with us? 

F:  As far as IGers Chicago goes, we have collaborated with a few our members and other Chicago groups for instameets.  For instance, one of our members who is an architect with a world renowned architecture firm, guided us on a Chicago Loop architecture tour.  Currently, by April 1st we begin collaboration with a company called InstaThis for a big challenge, which will potentially lead to a bigger planned project involving a City of Chicago arts organization.

Personally, I am collaborating with Javier of IGers Boston and Bridgette of IGers Seattle to launch IGers USA, which will not only be an Instagram feed, but a webiite hub for existing IGers communities as well as users who don’t currently have a local community in their area.  We’ll have a wealth of blogs, tips, events, and more as we move on beyond our launch.

I’m also collaborating with some music industry friends to move forward with the Chicago SoundCloud meetup community, which is designed for musicians, DJ’s, and lovers of music. I launched myself into this in 2011 with the help of some radio and music industry professionals, but that project was stalled by me due to my involvement with Instagram! We have some big plans for this summer.

Lastly, over at Tribune Media’s, ChicagoNow, I’ll be re-launching my old blog-site to focus primarily on the Instagram community. There I’ll be focusing on Chicago sights and sounds by utilizing the help of Instagramers as well as SoundClouders, app reviews, and other Instagram and Chicago topics.  ChicagoNow-Relaxocat

I:  I’m blessed to have a wide variety of things I’m working on right now. Photography wise, I was chosen to appear in Shooter, The First Photomobile Magazine. My work will appear in the third issue. On the acting/theater end, here is what I have going on:

I’m currently rehearsal for a play with Adventure Stage Chicago called “Augusta and Noble” by Carlos Murillo, directed by Tom Arvetis. We open April 13th. For more info go to: http://www.adventurestage.org/pages/augusta_and_noble/246.php

UrbanTheater Company has a reading series that recently kicked off called R.A.W. (Real. Aggressive. Writing.). We’re presenting work from playwrights of color, while maintaining a Community Conexión and making quality theater easily accessible to the Humboldt Park community. – http://urbantheaterchicago.org/2013/02/r-a-w-real-agressive-writing/

Lastly, I’m a finalist for Ketel One Vodka’s Modern Hispanic Gentlemen for my work with UrbanTheater company and community. It’s a People’s Choice Award and voting goes until April 15th. If I win, a donation goes to my charity of choice, which is La Casa Norte. Their mission is to help families confronting homelessness. So please vote to help me win! –  http://www.modernhispanicgentlemen.com/

City View by Ivan 

J:  I run @thepublicimage #publicimage with @ryanpostel we high light out favorite IG shots.  I curate the public lobby at 35 E. Grand and have a few events planned including an IG event that will bring the biggest and best of IG shooters to Chicago.

R:  I’ve never done a photography collaboration until recently where I edited a beautiful abstract shot by @dpicts (IG). He’s 14 and I felt honored that he asked me.

Ry: I regularly do collaborations and always welcome it. Nothing else I’m working on at the moment that I can legally share.

Give us an inside look as to what a “typical” weekend is like for you. Are you a planner or a last minute type person?

F:  I’m both a planner and a last-minute type.  Whenever I have a plan, someone will inevitably tell me about something else that’s interesting. My typical weekends involve some time set aside on Saturday afternoons for impromptu photo-walks. I spend a lot of time with friends. The evenings are filled with either music, art, or my other favorite pastime, dining!  Sundays for the last several years are centered around brunch with friends – a tradition I’ve been organizing since 2007.  Sunday nights are generally about planning for the upcoming week of social media tasks or catching up with friends who don’t live in Chicago.

I:  My schedule is all over the place, so typical doesn’t exist as often.

On the weekends, I’m either rehearsing or working an event. But, despite my schedule, I always try to spend some quality with my wife. I’m a mix between being a planner and a last minute person, but definitely lean more towards the second one.

J:  Have two kids so I work around what ever they have going on. Lots of pick ups and driving. I wake up every morning and walk to one of my favorite  coffee shops. Take the dog to Montrose Beach.

R:  I really have no typical weekend. It really depends on what my kids have planned, what my work schedule is like, what the weather holds and whether I’m in town or not. I really don’t like my weekends to be overly scheduled.

Ry: I’m a very last minute person. Theres no typical weekend for me. It all depends on what my friends and family are doing. If I have any free time I try to find a part of the city to go shooting in.

Feel free to answer a, b and/or c:

a) Who’s on your music playlist these days?

F:   Portugal The Man, Trombone Shorty, Massive Attack, RJD2, Savages, A Place To Bury Strangers, Social Studies, Atoms For Peace

J:  My bloody valentines new lp, ASAP rocky, and maybe Gorilla Biscuits (to keep it real)

Ry: Ben Howard, Kendrick Lamar, Of Monsters and Men.

b) Which blog/site do you check regularly?

I:  I really like TED.com and listening to peoples big ideas. The Big Picture on Boston.com is another site that I frequent.

J:  HYPEBEAST 

c) Which movie, released in 2012, would you say is a “must see”?

J:  Argo (and my step brother is in it)

R:  Beasts of the Southern Wild. It’s a gorgeous, gritty 16mm film with an outstanding performance by a child and a story of magical realism set in the American bayou.

Ry:  Life of Pi

And finally, is there an area of photography that you would like to further explore? One that would push you out of your comfort zone?

F:  I’m in the process of exploring film photography, specifically through a medium format Lomo camera. Many photographic styles found with mobile photography seems to mimic the look of Lomography. Through mobile photography we’re able to manipulate and edit our photos to look like they were taken from old analogue cameras.  Lomo’s analogue cameras tend to give that appearance, but on film. .

I:  I’ve been playing with idea of diving into the headshot market. This is an area that I’m familiar with as an actor, but haven’t tapped into. I would like to begin experimenting soon once I upgrade my equipment.

J: I don’t really have a comfort zone, I don’t really know what that is. I want to have a viable style without repeating myself.

R: I would really love to master black and white photography. I find it quite challenging to see in shades of gray. Also, comfortably taking shots of strangers and street photography is something that I find out of my comfort zone and I constantly push myself to take shots that feel like a challenge to me.

Ry: I have always wanted to take a crack at sports photography and a couple years ago a friend of mine got me down on the field to shoot a Major League Soccer game. That was pretty wild. I would love to do something like that again. It’s fast paced and such an adrenaline rush!

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Fayth aka Relaxocat – A Chicagoan for over 15 years, I’m originally from Los Angeles. Photography and photo journalism have been my interests since childhood, with first camera at age 8.  In 2010, after a few years of online media blogging at NBC Online and Tribune Medai’s Chicago Now, I took a break and joined Instagram for the fun of it. I also became an organizer of the Chicago SoundCloud group.  Instagram and mobile photography became primary interests, which led me to launch Insstagramers Chicago. I’m now part of the founding team of Instagramers USA. I’m still on break from blogging, but not for long.

Contact:

Instagram, Twitter & SoundCloud: @relaxocat

Blogs: www.chicagonow.com/relaxocat and www.relaxocat.com

Email:  fayth@igersusa.com

Photo by Omar Robles

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Ivan Vega

Ivan Vega was born and raised in Chicago. He is a husband, an actor, producer and Executive Director of UrbanTheater Company (UTC), which he co-founded in 2005. He’s also a self-taught photographer and a foodie (with hidden desire to be a chef). *My Personal Motto: *Be bold. Be fearless. Take risks. Make a difference. Love. Contribute. Create miracles. And above all, smile while doing so.

twitter.com/ivanvega

ivanvega@urbantheaterchicago.org

ivanvega.com

Instagram, EyeEm & Tadaa: @ivanvega

 Photo by Anthony Aicardi

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Jason Peterson

Jason Peterson lives in Chicago, IL with his wife and 2 kids.

Jason is the chief creative officer for Havas, a global advertising and marketing company. He creates national campaigns for major American brands. Prior Jason ran Translation, a youth marketing agency in NYC, founded by JayZ.

Some of his professional work can be view here: http://www.youtube.com/user/Jasonxxxpeterson

Instagram & EyeEm: @jasonmpeterson

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Ruth

I’m @80degrees everywhere:  IG, EyeEm, Twitter, 500px, Flickr, Streamzoo & Tadaa.

Although I am mostly active on IG.

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Ryan Postel
My name is Ryan and I live in Chicago, IL. I produce and edit content for a healthcare TV network and I have a puggle named Robocop.
Instagram & EyeEm: @ryanpostel

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I would like to thank Fayth, Ivan, Jason, Ruth and Ryan for contributing and for taking the time to show us what Chicago means to them.  And, a special shout out goes to Fayth for making the music portion of this video happen – it’s a perfect accompaniment!

Next up is Johannesburg – the largest city in South Africa.  So stay tuned.

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* If you’d like your city featured, please leave a comment below or feel free to contact me via twitter, Instagram or EyeEm.

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