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Thompson Hotels Chicago Influencers X Cody Braits


Artist & Activist

Photographer, progressive activist and creative consultant Cody Bralts has one of the sleekest Instagram’s around (with 37K followers) and a hell of a resume too—he’s worked as the social media manager for American Apparel and his work has been featured on The BBC and MTV, and in the ChicagoistAncestry Quarterly and The New York Times. His signature aesthetic focuses on the often overlooked moments and experiences we encounter in day-to-day life. “Observing and capturing the subtle intersection of lines, texture, and color make up a large part of my work,” says Bralts, whose style is minimal and sleek. Here he shares some of his favorite spots in Chicago and more.

When did your passion for photography first begin and how did it develop into a career?

It really came to me by chance. It really took form in high school, when I was exploring who I was creatively and photography as a medium just clicked with me. Since then, I’ve been able to expand and refine my voice by involving myself in other creative positions, from interning at Pitchfork, to acting as photo director of Ancestry Quarterly, to working as a social media manager for American Apparel. Now I freelance full time and it’s awesome.

You work for PHHHOTO as an Activator. What does this entail?

PHHHOTO is a social media app that allows you to share GIFs that you take directly on your phone. It has a very similar social media platform to Instagram. What I do with them is directly oversee “photobooths” we install at various functions around the city– everything from rooftop parties, to music festivals. From there, users can upload “phhhotos” they take directly to their account.

You describe yourself as a progressive activist on the side. What does that mean? What causes are you most passionate about?

Being a progressive activist means playing an active role in bringing about social change for the betterment of your community and society as a whole. Freedom of expression, social inequality, and government accountability are issues I’ve been involved in since middle school. Recently, I’ve been involved with the Bernie Sanders campaign and have been working to engage other millennials in the political process.

Can you share your 3 favorite places to hang in Chicago in your neighborhood?

The 606 Trail for wandering.

East Room for dancing.

Longman & Eagle for brunching.