Atlanta IV


It’s been almost a year since I’ve last written anything. My last blog was about expecting my work to transition, I didn’t know what it was, but I was confident something would happen soon. Champaign kinda locks me down - I don’t know if it’s the cold, the academic responsibilities, social culture, or what- but I spend a lot more time just thinking about what I like, what i don’t, what I want to do, etc. whenever I’m on campus. In the moment it feels awful/stale, but as summer came I had a lot of drive & new excitement to just create.

Leading up to summer, I applied to ~52 internships in LA & NYC & didn’t get a single one. Granted I applied to random positions - all paid too. I applied to merchandising jobs, production assistant positions, even event coordination roles. As much as I feel like I’ve done, I look weird on paper - an architectural student with work experience in photography applying to merchandising / production / event coordination. First question in every interview was “What do you wanna do?” as in, “What the heck are you doing?” I’m not sure, tbh. I love visual content, music videos, music, inspiring people to wonder. It’s simple, but I labeled myself as “Content Creator,” “Visual Artist,” & “Art Director.”

So I went to Atlanta to..

A. Figure out if I’m good enough to make my interests and skills a real career

B. See if I really do love what I love while I’m on campus

C. Revamp the portfolio/resume

D. Meet artists

E. Eat Korean food

First week I moved in to my best friend’s apartment, with a duffle bag of clothes, backpack & 2 blankets to make a bed on the floor. At the same time, I was actually without a laptop, camera lens & house keys (due to repairs & delays) - it felt awful. I woke up day 2 after moving in literally having no idea where to start, even if I wanted to -  I literally didn’t have the equipment to make anything. I sat at a cafe for two hours looking at my coffee & phone, then walked around Mid-town only because I literally had nothing else to do. I wasn’t depressed or anything, but those 48 hours of ambiguity made me hungry, to do anything I could that would mean growth and/or productivity.

A few lunches, house-parties, & informal meetings later, I was overwhelmed with how many people I met. It was a domino effect, meeting one person to another. Everyone was so warm, inviting, & had someone they wanted to introduce me to to help me get started out. The demographic was shocking too - youth pastor, chef, DJ, singer, rapper, producer… so many creative people doing what they loved - and all such good people. Within 2 weeks I had a family, within 3 - all my gear; & I was ready to get moving. I honestly can’t remember every project I did, but here’s a general list of what I did this summer..

1 - Creative Director of Atlanta Run Club, directing photoshoots, building social media content/boards, meetings with potential collaborators, hosting a rooftop social, helping expand the groups & incorporating new members, designing merchandise, etc.

2 - Conceptualized & directed a Music Video (FILA) with Uzuhan, with John Song (PA/mentor), Dior Choi (DA), & Paul Mun (Lights)

3 - Conceptualized & directed another Music Video (Timezones) with GU with Zak Campuzano (Producer)

4 - Random gigs (weddings, events, product shots) for cash, (thank you Johnny 삼춘 & IG brands)

5 - Collaborative photo/graphic design work for events/digital packages

6 - Personal Photoshoots with new friends/artists & experimenting with different formats & styles

I wish I could articulate into words just how many good people were introduced to my life & helped me make a real home in Atlanta. From buying my broke-ass food, bringing me along to their events, revising my resume & building my portfolio, trusting me to create this & that, building opportunities for me with the resources and people they know, & yelling at me when I drank too much - I’ll be forever grateful for the chapter in life my family in ATL helped me write & the lessons they’ve helped me learn.

It was a short but full 3-month sprint of just shooting, editing, meeting with people, observing & learning from older brothers & sisters, attending events & playing with new friends. I felt like I learned so much in sooo many aspects of life. How to deal with good & bad relationships with other creative people, the difference between wanting to be the best & being your best, balance with work & people, learning how to drop inhibiting preferences, how to love people, how to support people, how to be a part of community with its weaknesses, the list goes on. Looking back, I don’t know how I could be prideful of a season like this if all of this knowledges & experiences are literally gifts & offerings from other people, shared with the intention to love & build me up.

Writing this blog makes me realize how ironic of a summer this was. 

1 - I was rejected from every opportunity I applied to, but experienced the most growth & productivity I have in any other season in my life.

2 - I feel that I didn’t give God the amount of my heart that I wanted to give, but He blessed with so much more than I would’ve even asked for.

Honestly, it’s that unexpected paradox & relationship that really makes me feel so dumb & wanting to repent. I realized my truth of this summer is a perspective, and really not an objective re-collection of it. There’s other lenses I could’ve filtered this summer through & seen less value than I expected out of this summer, but I would be missing out on so much clear blessing & provision that made its way to me in these fast 3 months. I think that thought/possibility is scary when thinking about the future. After a summer like this, more than anything to do with career - I really hope to not give such little heart as I did to God, in hopes to see more of my life’s journey in relation to His doing & character. 

I honestly didn’t feel right in sharing this, because if you knew me this summer I went to church like 1.5 times & probably went out 4-5 nights a week, fml lmao. My summer was the epitome of “work hard, play hard”… ATL’s Koreatown scene finessed me… but somehow this truth made it into my heart before school started & I know it’s my responsibility & desire to share.

I don’t know what’s next. I’m back in school with my last semester studying Architecture. I’m currently applying to positions in LA… but I’m really looking for opportunities in Korea to work in anything creative/visual there. It’s all still fresh & new, & if you know of any opportunities please let me know, haha. I’m still clueless & naive, but finally I feel a little more happy with what I’ve put out as an artist, still with so much hunger to see what my hands can make. I want to learn everything I can. Whatever it takes…

Anyways, for everyone I met this summer, thank you all for such a dope summer. I literally didn’t meet a single person I wasn’t fond of & my only regret were the short-comings on my end regarding time, summer wasn’t long enough. & I didn’t get to spend nearly the amount of time I wanted to with everyone there. Atlanta is honestly a bigger home to me than any other city, now. I have applied to a couple of jobs that have branches in ATL, so I might be back! LMAO!! But foreal, Atlanta has the best creative community I’ve ever experienced. Collaborative, loving, supportive, genuine, humble & hungry. Thank you to everyone who’s been keeping up with my journey ~ I hope you’ve enjoyed the content I’ve put out,  as much as I’ve enjoyed creating it all. Hopefully I won’t get too into my head in Champaign & keep putting stuff out.



Christian Haahs

Chicago based Photographer specialized in Marketing, Branding, Digital/Analog Photography and Architecture. Varied works can be viewed through the site. For any inquiries, please find yourself on the contact page.