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CHI HUB / Stories / Feb 27, 2018

#streetsofchrome Featured Photographer – Jason Amen


X marks the spot. A low key roof in Chicago that's one of my favorite look downs because of how the intersection fits with the buildings.
X marks the spot. A low key roof in Chicago that’s one of my favorite look downs because of how the intersection fits with the buildings.

JASON AMEN: Streets of Chrome Photographer

Since we launched #streetsofchrome, it’s taken on a life of it’s own. Street photographers from around the world use the tag to share shots and inspiration and push each other to new heights, sometimes literally. We’re excited to feature some of their inspiring work here. Every photographer we feature was found via #streetsofchrome.

We believe great street photography captures something essential about the city and the people who live in it. The city is full of possibility and inspiration, and our Featured Photographers each see the city in a different way. We’re proud to share their vision with you.

Chrome: Name?
Jason Amen – @jibasaur

Where do you live?
Currently in Chicago, and originally from San Jose, CA.

When did you start shooting, and why?
When I was younger my friends and I always had a video camera around while trying to make our own Jackass videos. This evolved into always carrying a camera when we went skating or snowboarding. When Myspace and Facebook got big, it was easier to share photos so I moved to basic point and shoots. I didn’t really take it too serious until I saw what other people were doing with their phones on Instagram. It kind of blew my mind at how good their shots were, so I started going out with my phone a new eye for composition.

 I love shooting on public transportation in the city. Even though it can be packed shoulder to shoulder, everyone is zoned out and in their own little world. They're all just trying to get somewhere. I shot this woman from the next car over, through two sets of doors. She looked like she was ready for the day to be over with and I felt her face represented what many feel on the commute home.
I love shooting on public transportation in the city. Even though it can be packed shoulder to shoulder, everyone is zoned out and in their own little world. They’re all just trying to get somewhere. I shot this woman from the next car over, through two sets of doors. She looked like she was ready for the day to be over with and I felt her face represented what many feel on the commute home.

What are your go-to subjects? What do you love to shoot?
Living in Chicago, it’s very easy to shoot architecture and people. I like to go out and capture how the city changes in the elements. You can have so many different perspectives when it’s sunny, foggy, or snowing out. With people, I like to catch people on their commutes – usually in the evening. This is when people are usually zoned out and don’t care about some guy lurking with a camera pointed at
them.

What don’t you leave the house without?
As you could probably guess, I always have my camera with me. It’s the worst when a moment happens and you’re just sitting there thinking “I wish I had my gear with me.” My equipment is usually kept nicely organized and dry in my Niko backpack! That thing is a beast and saved the day on some really crappy rainy days.

What inspires you?
As far as photography goes, I’m inspired by the people I’ve met in the local Instagram community. Most of these people are self-taught and are producing some incredibly amazing work. It’s definitely inspiring to see people who have recently discovered photography and are totally passionate about the craft.

You can almost go for weeks at a time without seeing a shadow in the winter. So now that winter is over and the sun is coming out, I like to take advantage of popular attractions like 360Chicago at the Hancock tower.
You can almost go for weeks at a time without seeing a shadow in the winter. So now that winter is almost over and the sun is coming out, I like to take advantage of popular attractions like 360Chicago at the Hancock tower.

Do you prefer shooting friends or strangers?
I really like to shoot strangers with friends! I really enjoy both. It’s nice to be with friends who are willing to work on a concept with you, especially with portraits. On the other hand, there’s a mood and sense of emotion that you can only really get with candid shots of strangers.

I got this shot while participating in a #Chromeclinic that was hosted by the Chrome Chicago hub. While the group was leaving the CTA platform, I saw this view and went to check it out. Glad I waited around because I was really happy with the final result.
I got this shot while participating in a Chrome Photo Walk that was hosted by the Chrome Chicago hub. While the group was leaving the CTA platform, I saw this view and went to check it out. Glad I waited around because I was really happy with the final result.

When the skies are clear, I like to shoot just as the sun starts to get below some of the buildings. You get these various streaks of light and shadows that allow for some dramatic walks around town.
When the skies are clear, I like to shoot just as the sun starts to get below some of the buildings. You get these various streaks of light and shadows that allow for some dramatic walks around town.

Whenever I see puddles, I'll pop a squat next to em and see what's in their reflections. After some waiting I got lucky with this nice stride-by with a random stranger.
Whenever I see puddles, I’ll pop a squat next to em and see what’s in their reflections. After some waiting I got lucky with this nice stride-by with a random stranger.

During snowstorms and days with limited visibility, I like to try to hit up this roof spot in Chicago. I love that while it's a roof, it's not the highest building so you're still surrounded by other buildings.
During snowstorms and days with limited visibility, I like to try to hit up this roof spot in Chicago. I love that while it’s a roof, it’s not the highest building so you’re still surrounded by other buildings.

While I mostly shoot solo, It's always fun shooting with the homies. @_ncrawford_ and I decided to have a few fancy cocktails and enjoy the views at Cindy's rooftop in downtown Chicago.
While I mostly shoot solo, It’s always fun shooting with the homies. @nickcrvwford and I decided to have a few fancy cocktails and enjoy the views at Cindy’s rooftop in downtown Chicago.

 This shot was taken from twin peaks, in San Francisco. It's one of the best places to catch a sunset, since on one side you've got the beautiful SF skyline, and the other is the Pacific Ocean. My favorite part was watching the shadows slowly consume the city.
This shot was taken from twin peaks, in San Francisco. It’s one of the best places to catch a sunset, since on one side you’ve got the beautiful SF skyline, and the other is the Pacific Ocean. My favorite part was watching the shadows slowly consume the city.

One evening after work I was lurking around downtown Chicago when I saw this brightly lit garage entry and knew I wanted to get a
One evening after work I was lurking around downtown Chicago when I saw this brightly lit garage entry and knew I wanted to get a “stride-by” shot. I missed a bunch of people walking by while setting up the shot, but after a few minutes of waiting I was able to snag a shot of a solo commuter on his way home from the office.

Find more of Jason’s work at @Jibasaur on IG or on his website.

Check the rest of the dope shots on #StreetsofChrome

@Chrome_Industries