On September 29th, Closed Sessions hosted an intimate photo gallery chronicling the indie label’s movement from 2012-2017. The private gallery was hosted at Soho House Chicago, and served as a soft launch before the exhibition makes its way to a public space in the coming months. Here, we highlight the 4 photographers at the center of the exhibit, Jack Olevitch, Cooper Fox, Jameel Bridgewater, and Andrew Zeiter.
Years Active with CS: 2015-present
First photo you took for Closed Sessions: Yes, it was an Alex Wiley single artwork called “Feast”. We went to Fatso’s last stand and got some fries and spelled out feast with them, then I wrote his name in ketchup and we took a photo. Wasn’t a good photo but it was the first for sure.
Most memorable CS photo or art: Spicy Caliente was my most memorable because I was told to “make the viewers eyes explode” or something along those lines. I gave myself no boundaries and allowed myself to really create whatever was going to burn your eyes.
What do you want people to know about you after seeing this exhibit?: I am actually more of an illustrator/artists than a graphic designer. I have my own personal art that I hope one day everyone can see and enjoy, but I am really happy to be working with CS and I am glad people get to come see this sect of work that I am equally proud of.
Years Active with CS: 2016-present
First photo you took for Closed Sessions: The first photos I took for Closed Sessions was at Jamila Wood’s sold out album release show at Double Door. I remember Nico Segal came out and I got a great shot of the both of them.
Most memorable CS photo or Art: To this day my favorite photo is still the one I did for Kwe and oC before they left for their Euro tour. It’s the shot where Kweku is jumping over oC on his skateboard and from the angle I was at and lens I was using, it makes it look like he’s super high in the air. We all went into that shoot knowing we wanted an epic shot and that’s exactly what we did.
What do you want people to know about you after seeing this exhibit?: Closed Sessions gave me the platform and opportunities to do what I love and trusted me with ideas I wanted to execute. They’ve allowed me to use my camera as my ticket to travel around the country and for that I am always grateful. I have made life long friends at Closed Sessions, and because of that I’ve been able to make my best and most honest work to date.
Years Active with CS: 2015-present
First photo you took for Closed Sessions: The first set of photo’s I took for CS was of an apple talk on Michigan Ave. a few years ago.
Most memorable CS photo or art: Most memorable piece that I have been able to do with CS is probably the outsiders video/Europe documentation for Kweku.
What do you want people to know about you after seeing this exhibit?: I want people to know my work prides itself in the ability to connect and get to a comfortable place with the artists I work with, with no pressure. Being an African American photographer working around the music industry and the only one at CS, a lot of my work focuses on projecting ideas, growth, structure, and the ability to brand individuality in new spaces.
Years Active with CS: 2011-2016
First photo you took for Closed Sessions: I think my first memorable work with CS was the Closed Session with Action Bronson in studio. It was his first time in Chicago, and ate everywhere worth eating at. I remember most during the studio session, he told us how he never wears pants, and that Kolar had “Nice Rugs.”
Most memorable CS photo or art: My most memorable experience at CS was the long weekend in which Wyclef Jean was in Chicago and worked with CS. In a matter of days we created two music videos, one documentary, dozens of photos and several songs featuring Young Chop. I don’t think I slept at all, but it was quite an honor to work with a music legend of his caliber. Most memorably in that weekend, was the song that Wyclef wrote and recorded while waiting for Chop to show up at the studio. It is a classic sounding Wyclef acoustic, socially relevant song. Unfortunately the documentary was never released, but it still stands as the single piece I am most proud of at my time at CS… Hint, hint, lets release it RTC and Kolar! Although also shout out to any and every hilarious interaction I ever was blessed to have had with Cold hard from Crucial Conflict. Ive never laughed that hard.
What do you want people to know about you after seeing this exhibit?: I want people to know that Closed Sessions not only represents an opportunity for up and coming musical artists to grow, shine, and evolve, but also represents that same freedom and chance for visual artists such as myself. I felt Kolar, and RTC made an investment in me way back when, just as much as I invested in them. The label truly represents an independent movement, and champions originality and quality work, that just simply wouldn’t and couldn’t be made anywhere else. Simply put they trust the people they work with. That trust empowered me. Though Ive moved on into the professional commercial/film world, I will always view my time with CS as essential to who I am as an artist, and as a testing ground where I was able to find my voice, and style, and I hope the work reflects that still today.