The Angelenos: Chris


Chris and I have known each other since our freshman year in college after being introduced through a mutual friend. He seemed like a cool dude but was pretty quiet at the time, however, after hanging out with this guy more did I realize how interesting of a character he is.

One thing to know about Chris is that he can be pretty reserved and sometimes will be the quietest one in the room until someone starts directing questions towards him. When he does start talking, he is a very knowledgeable guy in a lot of topics. Sometimes he will even start to poke fun at you for little things you do that he notices. We always like to talk over beers and good food, and it's always a great time with this guy.

There's a side to him that's a lot like me: we are both spontaneous when we feel like it, but his bursts of spontaneity aren't as often as mine are and he can be the guy who goes big or goes home.  There was one time where he told me that he was going to start an online business selling Trader Joe's stuff to the states where the grocery chain doesn't exist. People all over the internet at that up and he made a good profit, but it was a one-man job and his living room was filled with shipping and Trader Joe's supplies, so he eventually stopped and moved on. Another time, he took a solo trip to Japan, not knowing how to speak Japanese or what to really expect from the trip. When he came back, he told me that he met some stranger who was super nice and they went to climb Mount Fuji together. I was baffled by this story because how does one guy who doesn't know how to speak Japanese link up with some stranger (who is native to Japan) and end up climbing a mountain together? So rad.

I value my friendship with Chris a lot. He has taught me that sometimes, you just need to do big things in life and don't let anything hold you back. Of course, stay within reasonable bounds, but fear will inhibit you from doing exciting things in this world we live in.



The Angelenos: Jordan


The way I got to know this fella is quite an interesting story. When Jordan was visiting Los Angeles, we were introduced by a mutual friend whom he grew up with in Oklahoma. A few months later, he was back in LA and told me that he moved here for a new job at a sick bicycle shop out in Monrovia, Empire Bikes. We hung out one night at a small beer bar in Ktown with our mutual friend and Jordan and I got into a serious convo about bicycles (if you don't know much about me, I am an avid cyclist and can sometimes geek out on topics regarding cycling) which led to a conversation about races and specific professional cycling teams - a topic I am only beginning to learn more about. Then he asked me a question most people ask when they're more well-acquainted with each other:

"Do you want to go on a road trip with me to Oklahoma?"

Now, that wasn't all there is to the question. He explained that there was this huge bicycle race that a bunch of professional cyclists attend in Tulsa, Oklahoma, called the "Tulsa Tough". It's a 3-day criterium race series (kinda like the nascar of cycling) that takes place consecutively on different courses throughout the city. He tells me most people come out to watch the races, drink tons of beer (I'm not joking, each person might as well babysit a keg per day), and have a good time.

Then he tells me about "Crybaby Hill", the final course on the last day of the race.

Crybaby hill is not for the faint of heart. It's a two-part steep climb up a hill, down, and then repeated at least 10 times, as fast as your legs can spin in the heaviest gear you can use to climb with. Basically, you would rather tear your legs off than try to walk after the race is over.

This sounded all so exciting to watch and I needed to get out and make some more photographs, so I said yes and agreed to share the driving duties with Jordan over the course of a 24-hour drive straight to Tulsa, Oklahoma. During that drive, we bonded over lots conversations, stories (we both love to do things for a good story), and music. We listened to a hell-of-a-lot of music during that drive, all of which we shared a common interest in.

Throughout that whole trip, we drove, we made photos, we drank (a LOT of beer), played with guns (everyone owns multiple guns in that state), and ate some good food. I never thought Oklahoma would be such a fun city with the nicest people in the world. Reminded me of my hometown in Cleveland, Ohio, but on a whole 'notha level.

I'm glad to call this guy my friend. He is almost always down for the craziest things and is a very genuine person. You don't come across folks like him often.

To more crazy stories in the future. Cheers.

Oh, and here's a snippet of the craziness of "Crybaby Hill" during the Tulsa Tough. I'll post more images from the race soon:

My sunburnt self on the far left photographing Jordan for the photo below.

My sunburnt self on the far left photographing Jordan for the photo below.





The Angelenos: Ray


RAY is a man I met through working at a local cafe. He was a regular, and one day he invited me to his place to see what he does for his YouTube channel "Get Crafty Crafty". When I came in, he showed me his setup and was about to film the video featuring an unboxing of his YouTube Silver Play Button award for reaching 100k subscribers. I had the opportunity to ask him a bunch of questions about how he got to where he is today and what it took for him to get there. A really hard worker, this guy is always on his phone or computer, looking for new projects to make for his channel, writing emails, and updating his Instagram for his audience.

One night, we went to grab dinner at a new joint that opened up in town and what was supposed to be just a hangout turned out to be a crazy conversation about getting shit done, not over-thinking anything, and not letting roadblocks slow you down. The phrase of the night was "just do it", as famously coined by Nike and emphasized by Shia LaBeouf. Sometimes we are successful, and many times we aren't, but in the end, you're still doing your craft and creating new things every day, which will eventually lead you to success. I've seen it over and over again amongst peers in other artistic disciplines, where they failed so many times, but through that growth they became successful and define who they are now.  It was really insightful and got me motivated to start shooting my current project, The Angelenos.