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Pitchfork Music Festival Changed My Life.

Pitchfork Music Festival Changed My Life.

By Omar Canizales

In January of 2022 I did my first concert photoshoot for a local Chicago show. I specifically reached out to the headliners Papo2oo4 and Subjxct 5 to work with them during their time in Chicago. After these events, I seemed to take photos for them whenever they visited the city. Fast forward to July of 2022, Subjxct 5 came back to Chicago for a show. I linked up with him to take photos for a set he was doing and after the show we got to sit down and talk about his upcoming events. He mentioned on Instagram that he was going to perform at Pitchfork Music Festival. I had asked if they needed someone to take photos to document the weekend and if they would be able to get me in with them. I figured it would be a long shot because I had never even shot a festival professionally before. After a bit of conversation he told me he would definitely try to get me there.

About a week later I got a text from Subjxct saying I was good to go.

At this point in time, I wasn’t even in the state. I was in the middle of Michigan over 4 hours away from the festival location. Once I got this text though, I immediately got onto a train and rushed back home. The next day I pulled up to the festival and got all of my badges and had probably one of the craziest weekends of my life. 

Wiki & Subjxct 5, live at Pitchfork Music Festival

To start, I was immediately welcomed with open arms. I was introduced to the team I would be with for the whole weekend and basically pitched myself to everyone. Felt like I only had one line of dialogue, which was something along the lines of, “Hi i’m Omar, I take photos around the city, I’d love to take photos for you in the future sometime.” Up until this point I was never taken seriously as I was too young to be doing what I was doing. I was pushed aside by a lot of venues because they didn’t think I was capable of doing what I was doing. This was my opportunity to show people that I really am about the career path I’ve chosen for myself. It really was deeper than just taking photos at a festival for me.

The weather that was forecasted for the festival weekend created a sort of rushed yet intense atmosphere in the air, as every artist prepared for a washout. This in turn created a certain intensity in Wiki’s performance which created a very lively and intense performance. It wasn’t one of those performances that some artists give where they sit back and let the background vocals do their thing. Wiki rapped every word, bar, cadence and line with a strong intensity. On the other half of the performance, Subjxct didn’t miss a single cue. They were just floating along the performance wave with no issues.

Wiki performing, “Wik Da God,” off of Half-God.

After the jolting set, it was time to reach out to artists I’ve looked up to over the years and make connections that I hoped would form some sort of something in the future. This led to a secure connection with the post-punk group Iceage. They welcomed me back to their Chicago shows later in the year and trusted me to take photos for them. They were willing to do future work wherever our paths overlapped in the future.

Elias Ronnenfelt, of Ice Age

This weekend also led to unforgettable conversations from people like Questlove, Earl Sweatshirt, Chaz Wick and Injury Reserve. That day I realized I was in the right place and on the right path.

I will be forever grateful for the opportunity that was given to me.


All images provided are owned by Omar Canizales. Visit me on Instagram @just.omar.jpg.


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