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Consumed



I don't take self portraits let alone selfies. I'm not super confident in my writing skills. And yet here I am doing both.


At first, sharing my art became a passion through Instagram. I gained tens of thousands of followers in a short period of time because I became a "Suggested User," a concept that I don't believe exists anymore in which my name became amplified on the search page of the app. I was so excited - I felt like I had achieved the ultimate resumé builder as a photographer. I had more free time then, and I went around taking more pictures around the city to get all of the iconic shots. It felt amazing at the time.


But the more I played Instagram's game, the more my "art" turned into unfulfilling work. I would go to a coffee shop so I could order that one latte with the intricate design and photograph it from above. This one boutique always has great art on the walls, I would frequent the shop just to get a shot to add to my feed. This wasn't photography anymore, it was an attempt for instant gratification of likes, comments and shares. I was also a sales associate at Urban Outfitters and I was even working for their social media page @UOChicago, creating content for their feed with their products. While that helped boost my creativity, I never felt like I was making the art I wanted. I wasn't in a great place and I definitely felt stuck.


It wasn't until I photographed Pitchfork Music Festival for Urban Outfitters in 2016 that the spark reignited for me. Capturing live music was something I had always enjoyed, but never had the opportunity to really progress. Through my content I shot from that festival to other shows my friends let me photograph, I created a portfolio that allowed me to gain the attention of the media companies I had reached out to. I've been photographing the Chicago music scene for about a year now and I feel like I can finally show everyone the work that lights the fire in my bones.


Instagram is for sharing, not gratification. It took me years to discover this and I vowed to never rely on an app or website for happiness ever again. The same goes for this blog. I'm not creating this for the likes, re-posts or comments. It's a way to share my work while also talking about it.


.In this photo I wanted to create a portrait that shows myself outside of photography. This is a theatrical representation of my home life away from work. I'm surrounded by my plants, pictures of friends and wearing my favorite shirt (which happens to be the artwork from my best friend's band Slowmass). From the moment I walk in the door, I pop on my headphones and disappear from the outside. I do tend to dive head first into the world of my phone through visiting social media sites, apps, pages, texts, and everything else within the internet universe. I'm trying to release myself a bit from all that. Baby steps.




All images ©Madi Ellis Photography