THE ART OF LETTING GO: CHICAGO STREET PHOTOGRAPHERS MATT WEITZ & KEVIN COBOS

by Angelina Perino

“There’s that moment when you let go of the shutter and just know you got the right shot.”

-Kevin Cobos

Hey guys! The Artists’ Cove is officially launched and this very first feature is a little extra special to me. As many of you know, I recently left my beloved city of Chicago to move to San Francisco to continue my own journey as an artist. Change will sometimes ask us to let go of the things we hold close to us for a period of time, which is not easy. But the growth that results from it is worth all the sacrifice.

I will always have a fierce love for my city, which is why I wanted this first feature to showcase the amazing work of two of my favorite Chicago-based street photographers – Matt Weitz and Kevin Cobos. These guys are both only twenty-three years old, but have a way of capturing Chicago’s beautiful balance of texture and culture that is impressive beyond their years. I especially love how their work brings out that somewhat grungy but always sexy vibe of the city; that aggressive Chicago welcome with the ‘L’ trains rattling past overhead and the famous wind sweeping through from Lake Michigan that reminds you that you are in the heart of one of the most incredible cities.

I sat down with Matt and Kevin for an interview so we could get to know a little bit about each of their individual processes and gain some insight into their lives behind the camera. These Chicago guys both gave great interviews for The Artists’ Cove that you can read below. Don’t worry, I’ve included tons of their stunning photos for you guys to lust over as well.

Be sure to follow them both on Instagram and keep up with their daily posts – always a major source of inspiration for me:

@mattbweitz@kevo.28

Huge thank you’s to both Matt and Kevin!


MATT WEITZ

A: Where are you from?
M: I’m originally from Thousand Oaks, California — suburb of L.A.

A: What made you come to Chicago?
M: I came to school out here. I went to DePaul. I wanted to come to a bigger city. I visited the school and this city and I knew this is where I wanted to be.

A: Did you study photography in school?
M: No, I studied accounting and finance. I’m actually a financial analyst, but photography is what I love to do on the side.

A: When did you first get into photography?
M: About a year and a half ago. I got a camera in February of 2015 and I just kind of took to it.

A: Not as long as most people would imagine you’ve been doing it. When did you realize it was something you loved to do?
M: It was just something to do. It filled a lot of my time.

A: But you had to realize you were good at it.
M: I would say there are a lot of people who are better than me.

A: Recently you took over @choosechicago’s Instagram. Tell me about that.
M: Yeah, its one of the cooler things I’ve gotten to do photography-wise. They contacted me a couple months ago about it, so I’ve been doing a lot of prep work for that — going out, editing, spending time playing around in the Lightroom. So far its been really cool.

A: What do you think makes photography a unique art form?
M: I think that everyone has their own take. Its cool when you’re with other people and you’ll be taking the same picture, but through someone else’s eyes the picture results will come out differently than your own. Street photography is an art form that you can move around and do; you’re not just in a studio. I’ll meet up with friends downtown to shoot and we’ll just make loops.

A: What inspires you?
M: I guess just striving to be better. I have a lot of photographer friends and I get inspired by their edits they do on photos. I get inspired by the colors. I love really bold, saturated colors in photos.

A: What is your favorite aspect of photography?
M: I just really like that it gets me out to see the city. Going to spots I wouldn’t necessarily go to on an everyday basis and seeing things that I wouldn’t see otherwise.

A: Why do you love to photograph the city of Chicago?
M: Its got so many different aspects to it. You have Lake Michigan and the Riverwalk, then you can go around ‘The Loop’ and take pictures of people and the streets. You can go out to Millennium Park where there’s iconic things like ‘The Bean’ or you can go more North and see the whole skyline. I did a helicopter tour over the city once which was really awesome.

A: Do you have a favorite spots/view that you like to shoot?
M: Recently, I met some people who have a friend that lives in this building in the Rivernorth area. They have a deck thats 38 floors up and it was really cool because it has almost a 360 view of the city. The other place I would choose is the Hardrock Hotel. They invite people up sometimes. I went up a couple months ago and it was just me so it was awesome.

A: Is there a particular collaboration or set of photos you’ve done that are your favorite?
M: I’m really proud of the stuff I’ve put together for @ChooseChicago. I went back through a year and a half of pictures. I started from point A and I went to as recently as Saturday. So going through that and doing new edits on old pictures, I’m really proud of how they turned out. My captions — not so good.

A: What would you like for photographers or artists of any kind reading this to know?
M: If theres someone you really like photography-wise, I think its really important to reach out to them. Most people are really friendly if you reach out and I’ve been doing more of that in the past three months. You meet really cool people and you learn a lot that way.

A: What do you most enjoy doing aside from photography?
M: Golfing. I’ve played since I was 3. I played in high school and I play with my dad whenever I’m home. I would choose golf over photography any day.

A: If you could live in any city in the world and do your work, where would that be?
M: It’d probably be L.A. My whole family is still there and I like the weather too much.

A: If you could offer advice to your younger self what would you say to him?
M: Work harder.

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Photos by Matt Weitz (@mattbweitz)


KEVIN COBOS

A: Where are you from?
K: Born and raised in Chicago!

A: Did you study photography in school or a different major?
K: I actually studied criminal justice.

A: When did you get into photography? Was there a particular moment when you just knew it was for you?
K: I would say my senior year of high school when I was in Madrid. There was a contest for who could take the most artsy photo.

A: What makes photography a unique art form?
K: I know it sounds cliche, but that you capture a moment in time and you can reflect back on years later.

A: What inspires you?
K: When looking at other photographers, I really look up to 13th Witness, Trashhand & JasonMPeterson. They really changed the game when it comes to photography. Traveling and trying to see as much as possible & document it pushes me to try and always shoot.

A: What is your favorite aspect of photography?
K: There’s that moment when you let go of the shutter and you just know you got the right shot.

A: Why do you love to photograph the city of Chicago?
K: It has such a bad rep and I want to show the good part of it. Its not as bad as the media makes it look.

A: Do you have a favorite spot or view in the city you like to shoot?
K: In ‘The Loop.’ Capturing buildings, people, sunsets; there’s a lot.
A: Do you have a favorite collaboration or photo that you’ve done so far?
K: My friend Brian Willette left to go to L.A. and I wanted to show him one last view here before he left. We went to the very top of a building on Wacker. (pictured below):

 

A: What would you like for photographers or artists of any kind reading this to know?
K: Always keep shooting and always keep sharing.

A: What do you most enjoy doing, aside from photography?
K: Music. Any genre — hip hop, R&B, old school.

A: What is a normal day like for you?
K: Downtown, walking through Chicago and taking photos. Maybe go to the beach to shoot and then make my way towards ‘The Loop.’ I’m looking for moments that really define Chicago; trains passing by, etc.

A: If you could live in any city in the world and do your work there, where would that be?
K: I would say Portland. Its very outdoorsy and theres lots of woods and hiking. I want to get into nature and out of the city to shoot.

A: Is there a certain quote or words that you live by?
K: Even though everyone dislikes him, Kanye once said “Nothing in life is promised except death.”

A: If you could offer advice to your younger self, what would that be?
K: Don’t be shy, whether its asking to take a photo or to collaborate. People are always looking to work with other people, too.

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Photos by Kevin Cobos (@kevo.28)

I hope you guys enjoyed this feature! Much love to my special city.

xx Angelina

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