Get To Know Caleb Zahm As He Leaves Indiana To Pursue His Dreams In Chicago

(Header photo by: romancreates)

What’s going on man, introduce yourself to the people

What’s up everyone, I’m Caleb Zahm, a photographer originally from Indiana, now living in Chicago.

How was life growing up?

Life was different growing up. I was very involved with sports. I played basketball, football, and baseball. Eventually I just kind of got tired of playing sports and picked up a camera and my whole life changed from there.


Were you creative before sports or was photography your first creative endeavor?

I would say I was creative before photography. I was really into drawing and graffiti when I was young. Photography was the first creative medium I decided to take seriously though.

When did you first start getting into photography?

I got into photography around 13-14. Around that time I was big into skateboarding and I would always watch my buddy film people who were good at skating. Seeing that constantly pushed me to pick up a camera for the first time. I first started shooting photos of people skating, rooftops, and cars. Eventually over time I began to start shooting more city, portraits, and concert photography. Near 8 years later, and here I am.

What was the first platform you used to showcase your photography?

I would post my photos on Facebook and Instagram early on. I was on Instagram pretty early on and that really helped me out a lot.

When did you get involved with IG?

I began to get involved with Instagram late 2013 early 2014. When I first got onto Instagram I was big into clothes and would resell shoes and supreme on my account. Every here and there I would also post pictures of my photography. Over time I got to the point where I wanted to only post my photography work.

How did you become one of the rising stars on Instagram in 2015?

Man, so that came about randomly. Instagram contacted me saying they wanted to buy one of my photos. We eventually worked it out and I signed the contract for the photo to be theirs. After that we continued talking and then I remember waking up one day to see the Rising Stars list and I was in it.

Since your early days on IG, would you say IG as powerful as it once was/or is it dying?

For artists/creatives, I think its slowly fading away. Instagram is more geared towards brands, companies, and just your everyday person now-a-days.

What’s your favorite photo-sharing app now-a-days?

Now-a-days I really love 500px. As much as people hate on Instagram, I still love posting on there as well.

Living in Indiana did you feel it was important to always come to Chicago to shoot?

Not really actually, I enjoyed shooting in Indiana. Its something about being in Chicago that’s like nothing else though, I will say that. Inside the city my mind goes crazy in a creative way. I love it.

Who were some of the Chicago photographers you would shoot w/ early on?

I would shoot with Romancreates, Transmental, and 4strs a lot early on.

After exploring the city for a couple years now, what’s your favorite Chicago spot to shoot?

Man, that’s a hard one. I don’t know if I could just specifically pick one spot. Recently I’ve been into expanding to the edges of Chicago and not just downtown. I love the little neighborhoods- the colors, bricks, and the environment.

I see you were able to create some Adidas Campaigns, talk to us about those

The Adidas Campaigns came about from an Agency contacting me through my website. The first shoot we did they sent me out the shoes and a book. In this book they sent me were ideas and concepts they had in mind for the photoshoot, but they allowed me full creative direction. Later down the road, they called me again to do another shoot. The second time around, they only sent me one shoe. With there only being one shoe, it made things more difficult. I had to get super creative with it. I went to Michaels and bought a reflective board and propped the shoe up on a flashlight and had people draw with light figures around it, while someone vaped behind the shoe. To be honest, some of my favorite photos came from that shoot.



When it comes to shooting, what are key components to taking a shot?

A lot of different things go through my mind before taking a shot. When I’m doing portraits, I make sure no body parts are cut out of the photo. I can’t stand when I see portraits with hands or other body parts cut out of the photo. Another important thing is making sure that the background is complement to what I’m shooting.

Throughout your 7-year photography journey, what have you taken away from it?

Photography has taught me so much. One of the biggest things I’ve learned is Patience. Another thing I’ve noticed is that I look at things much differently now. I look at the smallest things around me everywhere I go.

What motivates you to continue to keep shooting?

I’m always motivated and hungry to make more and better work each time. The city motivates me and seeing all the other photographers going hard in the city motivates me as well.

If you could work with three brands in the near future who would they be?

I would love to work with Jordan/Nike, shoot Brand events, and go on tour with an Artist.

Written By: Nicholas Rud