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Thompson Hotels Chicago Influencers X Steve Kuzminski


Sky’s the Limit

Sunset and skyscraper obsessed Instagrammer Steve Kuzminski @hip_hipster_ray has a visual style that’s both vibrantly colorful and sharp in detail. His muse? The soaring buildings and extreme weather conditions of his native Chicago. “Chicago has such beautiful architecture,” says Kuzminski, who calls the Lakeview neighborhood home. “The way light bounces and creates shadows among the skyscrapers has really taught me a lot about working with natural light.” Here, the talented photographer shares his go-to spots in Lakeview, including his all-time favorite pizza joint (a serious title in this pizza-obsessed city), and more.

When did your interest in photography begin? 

While I’ve always had a passing interest in photography starting at a young age, I really got into taking a lot of photos and getting some serious gear about 4 years ago when I got my first smart phone with a decent camera built in that I always had with me so it was easy to take quality photos at any moment.

How did you transition into making it your career?

Although I still work a 9–5 job as a sales rep for a probiotic company, Florajen, I have been doing more paid photography work that has come about through friends and acquaintances who have admired my photos and approached me about shooting their engagement, wedding, family or other special events. It has been a fun way to test out the waters of being a professional photographer without having to rely on it to pay the bills.

What’s your favorite neighborhood in Chicago?

There are a lot of great neighborhoods in the Chicago, but I am partial to Lakeview since it’s where I call home. Wrigley Field is a classic baseball stadium and a great place to catch a game, especially when the Cubs are winning and the weather is good! Schuba’s Tavern is right around the corner from my house and is a wonderfully intimate music venue along side a vintage-style Chicago bar that has seen a long list of legendary performers.  When it comes to eats, I’m a frequent visitor to both “BIG & little’s” for their delicious tacos and also “Pizza Serio” which serves up some of the best pizza I’ve ever had, which is high praise because I love pizza and Chicago is a very competitive pizza town.

Do you have any exciting projects coming up that you can share with us? 

I’m very excited about my upcoming trip to the western USA later this month. I’ll be spending a week in northern Arizona and southern Utah photographing some of nature’s amazing wonders before heading to Portland, Oregon for a friend’s wedding and then taking a train ride though 8 states on my way back to Chicago.