André Bayard: Big City

André Bayard is a Seattle transplant living in Chicago. He has spent time living in South Korea and Uganda volunteering and teaching English as a second-language. 

I’ve been shooting for about 3 years now, around the same time I moved to Chicago. I’ve always been interested in taking pictures to capture memories from traveling and time with friends, but never anything too serious. When I moved to Chicago, I didn’t know anyone and was having trouble meeting people since I worked from home and traveled a lot with work. A friend from home, who was a photographer, suggested I explore the city, take pictures of the buildings and skylines, and share on Instagram. The rest is history. 

I currently shoot with a Sony A7II. This camera is more advanced than I need, but I am starting to get used to it and enjoy it. The first DSLR camera I had was a Sony a58, and mostly all of my pictures in this book were taken with that camera. However, now that I am shooting with the Sony A7II, which is a lot smaller and lighter than the Sony a58, I’ve started to shoot a lot more and take the camera with me to more places. This has allowed me to take pictures of different subjects and places and break out of my comfort zone. 

Right now, I would say that I am a street photographer. I like to capture different moments and scenes throughout the city. However, I can easily become a nature photographer, if I were in that environment. Essentially, I just want people to see and experience what I experienced through my photography, wherever I am at or what I am doing. 

I tell this story a lot, but the first friend I made in Chicago was through Instagram. In one of my posts, I introduced myself to my followers. My name, job, background, etc... basic things. At that time, there were a few people who consistently liked and commented on my pictures, so I tagged them in the post, and one person responded. John (@casual.monday) sent me a message and we met up a few days later. He was just starting off too, so it was fun shooting and getting to know him while we both learned in the process. Whenever we hang out, still today, it’s always a good time. I really appreciate him for replying to that post and wanting to meet up... I felt like that was the beginning of my life in Chicago. 

I edit my pictures in Lightroom. I use a preset that I created on all of my pictures to quickly give it that initial edit and tone that I like. From there, I make adjustments and other edits as I see fit. I like to experiment with lighting and tone, so I am constantly changing the look and reseting the image to try different edits. If I am going to post on Instagram, I’ll send the picture to my phone via Creative Cloud and do some very light edits in Photoshop Express. From there, I’ll export to Instagram, do some more light edits, and post. I think the image loses some integrity when you export to your phone, so some edits are occasionally needed. 

For me, Instagram has always been a way to meet people. Everyone I have met and become friends with in Chicago, and other cities, has been through Instagram. I have met some of my closest friends over the years through Instagram. With that said, the people who I have met and become friends with are the people who have influenced me and my photography. I am constantly learning and being inspired by them, so it’s great and I enjoy it. 

My friends inspire and influence me. There are days, even weeks that go by, where I don’t feel like taking pictures or doing anything photography related. And I know a lot of people fall into these uninspired bouts every once in a while. However, when I see my friends out there shooting, capturing amazing moments, it makes me want to go out and get after it too. As far as specific people or person who inspires me, it would be Alex Penfornis (@alexpenfornis) from Paris. He’s an amazing photographer, and I've been following his work for a long time. I’ve never met him, but through chatting with him every once in a while, he seems like a pretty cool and genuine guy, which to me, is important. 

To go on assignment for National Geographic and travel the entire world would be a perfect assignment for me. All expenses paid, equipment provided, and exclusive access and experiences.