We’re back in Chicago today for this one, as always you know Chicago is the home to all SORTS of different creatives. I mean I say this at least 4 times a day. Recently we’ve been keeping our eyes on the music scene as it’s been what everyone is also keeping their eyes on. We figured we would switch it up and really introduce you to some hardworking creatives not jus tin the rap scene, because you can never forget the people behind the camera. Today I would like to introduce you to Timmy Risden, photographer and writer for the Chicago magazine publication, Lyrical Lemonade. As a fellow writer it was good to sit down with someone and speak on a lot of things in the game that people don’t pay attention too. Like how there are billions of different photographers in a very competitive field or taking that brave first step into a fast-moving industry where only your work and experience speak for you. Me and Timmy got to have a quality conversation while also getting in an excellent interview for the site. Below you can read our convo and peep some pictures of Timmy’s, hope you enjoy!
Who are you?
Timmy: My name’s Timmy Risden, I’m from the suburbs of Chicago. I write for Lyrical Lemonade which is a Chicago music publication, I’ve been doing music photography for a couple of years now. I co-manage a rap collective called “Katana X Mob” & that’s pretty much it.
What came first? Writing? Photography? Or Managing?
Timmy: Photography actually, I started with EDM photography and then through that I met a lot of people who put on and managed events and then around that time I got heavily into rap music. My junior year of high school I started my own blog with my friend. Eventually we went our separate ways and then I joined Lyrical Lemonade in early October. I’ve been friends with Cole and the team for a real long time, so I started getting more into writing. Just through music, I’ve met Famous who is in Katana X Mob and then I went on to manage the other 4 artists as well.
So how did you originally get into Photography?
Timmy: So my sister moved out during the beginning of my junior year in high school and she left her camera so I ended up messing around with it. I was also in a photography class at the time and it’s funny because my high school counselor had to convince me to take photography because I didn’t want to take it at all.But I ended up really liking it so I kept doing it on my own. There were some kids in my town that were EDM DJ’s, and they did “Spring Awakening” and shows like that, so I started going with them and started picking up info I use today like how to work a venue, and general techniques.
Do you use Film or Digital? Or do you dabble in both? What would you say your favorite style is?
Timmy: I started out with film, but I didn’t like how you had no clue how the photo was gonna get look while taking them. I really just use digital now.
Being from the suburbs of Chicago was it hard for you to get yourself into the rap scene? Was it hard for you to make that jump between genres?
Timmy: Yeah it was pretty hard because I didn’t know a lot about it so they could kinda sense that, but at the time when I first started getting into rap seriously was when Lyrical Lemonade started really popping off. Since people knew they started out in the suburbs, Cole and the rest of the team showed off the potential the suburbs had. If I woulda started a year before then, it woulda been pretty hard but I don’t know, as long as you’re dedicated to learning about new things in the culture then they’ll see that and recognize the work you do.
So how did you join Lyrical Lemonade?
Timmy: I joined them the beginning of October in 2016. Basically, I wanted to take it to the next level and I had been friends with Cole and the team for a while so I knew that could help me out. I’m majoring in Journalism in school right now, so I wanted to do more work for my portfolio.
How would describe your journey from October working with Lyrical Lemonade to now? Have you noticed your progression in any of your talents?
Timmy: I think before I joined Lyrical since I was kinda working on my own website there was no one to challenge me, I could barely challenge myself. Now that I work for a bigger brand that isn’t my own, they really push me to improve and release more content. The pressure is on when you put your name on a platform such as Lyrical.
Do you have any words for anyone who would want to step into the photography field but are a little nervous about taking that first step?
Timmy: Photography isn’t cheap or easy. Invest your money and your time and see what happens.
How does it feel to be able to be in the field as much as you are? You take pictures of some of the hottest rappers out of Chicago so how does that feel for you?
Timmy: It’s awesome. Chicago has so much potential and diversity and being able to document an artist like Warhol.SS go from basement shows to nationwide tours is crazy.
How would you say you make yourself fit or involved in such a creative community like Chicago?
Timmy: You kinda just have to make yourself as useful as possible and make yourself stick out, just like any other field. Some will tell you people hate helping each other out in Chicago but in reality you just have to bring something different to the table.
Did you have any goals that you accomplished in 2016?
Timmy: I had a lot more successful shoots and events last year, I really started in 2015 doing small scene things which is good because you have to start small, but 2016 was definitely a way bigger year than 2015. But I’m always trying to improve, every year and every event.
Do you have any specific goals this year or is it just the same as always?
Timmy: Well this will be my first year with Lyrical Lemonade, I want to make sure the team keeps killing it. My Katana X Mob boys got some stuff in the vaults. Aside from that, maybe I’ll do a gallery or something. Who knows.
Is there anything you have in the future people should look out for?
Timmy: February 24th Lyrical Lemonade will be having Playboi Carti headline Portage Theater alongside Xavier Wulf, Smokepurpp, Lil Pump, and Warhol.SS. Tickets go on sale on our website Thursday, January 19th.
Below is a gallery of more photos taken by Timmy, for more visuals and news from Timmy you can follow him on his Twitter and Instagram. Be sure to checkout Lyrical Lemonade in your free time away from us! You can also buy tickets for the Playboi Carti x Lyrical Lemonade show on February 24th here. Take advantage of your situation and put yourself in that position, I pray a lot of you who have dreams of stepping into the ‘behind the scenes’ learned something from this…..