Pete Halupka

Published December 29, 2009 by Graham


Pete Halupka is a 20-year-old photographer from Chicago whose wondrous work is marked by a rapturous reverence for motion. Even in the stillest of his still lifes you get the sense of a world in flux, an impermanent moment fearlessly captured with nary a second to spare. Is it any wonder that Halupka excels at his expeditious day job as a bike messenger? Pete was kind enough to fill us in on his favorite pizzas, his photographic philosophy, and his skateboarding goals for the coming decade.

Have you been on any adventures lately?
I haven’t been on many adventures as of late. My friends and I have been with families out of Chicago because of winter break so the adventuring has been low it seems. I went to St. Louis over the weekend and realized how lucky I am to ride my bike in Chicago where the roads are flat! The Mississippi River is intense. I mostly just sat next to it and drank root beer.

Most of our adventures here in Chicago come from out of town friends visiting from all over, all the time. The next time that happens our friend Erin flies from Atlanta with plenty of Chick-Fil-A chicken biscuits to come play in the snow here. Then we go to NYC. We have a pretty big group of friends in NYC and I anticipate gettin’ down, eating plenty of slices and pop, and illegally purchasing alcohol at corner deli’s.

I feel like I’m trying to live up to what my photos have made my life to look like but really I just do normal stuff with my friends like play Modern Warfare, buy a lot of $5 Hot N’ Ready’s, and have potluck burrito dinners.

I think we all came from small towns so we are really easily entertained. But we do get outside our living room. It’s true. Maybe this winter is just making me pessimistic.


What are you looking to capture when you’ve got your camera in hand?
I just like taking pictures. I think I take pictures for the same reasons every else does. But I do like knots, morning light, Pilsen alleyways, color, lack of color, powerlines, snow, prairie grass, vast landscapes, tall skyscrapers, several of the same item stacked on top of each other or connected, and old food.

Which photograph that you took in 2009 are you most fond of?
Oh, man. Probably this wilted slice of watermelon hanging in a noose on my back porch. I was super into that idea for a long time and finally photographed it. It just all came together and I even was able to hang it in this really amazing group show for Harold Arts Residency. I also shot this box of Neapolitan ice cream melting that I enjoy. And in April I shot this banana on a windowsill with this picture of my brother’s roommate dressed up as a vampire at a young age propped up next to it. I guess I really like food. But I think I’ll settle on the watermelon.


What’s the best pizza in Chicago?
Oh dude. I watched Anthony Bourdain’s show and I believe he said some place in the suburbs had the best deep dish.

I don’t spend a lot of money on dining out but I have had the chance to have Gino’s and Giordano’s. Both were fantastic and I would say go to the one with the shorter line! Bacci’s pizza is ok but the slices are as large as your upper body. I’m sure a bunch of Chicago locals will read this and be mad that I don’t know more about the pizza scene. Sorry, dudes.

Got any plans for the coming decade?
Finish school, buy a farm, get as many plaid wool jackets as possible, buy more boots, keep my leatherman on my belt at all times, continue making work, start a skateboard co-op for kids who can’t afford boards, learn French after I learn Spanish, get a dog, become less extroverted, learn to fly fish, open up my Boy Scout handbook again, become closer to my family because they’ve been amazing to me, have a rabbit, fall in love permanently and make work with that person, get a brand new road bike from that year custom fitted for myself, make mistakes and learn, learn to play harmonica, get bit by a snake, continue to be a bike messenger here, own a print of that photograph Sally Mann did in Deep South of that scarred tree… and probably meet Sally Mann, photograph a priest, go take communion and slip it into my pocket, take an agricultural science class, downhill mountain bike a lot, skateboard forever, see Spike Jonze nollie heelflip with or without loafers, see the Gonz hippie jump something, bomb a hill with Dennis Buzenitz and follow his line, and last but not least, continue to move forward in life in a positive manner.


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4 comments so far

  1. Lisa says:

    Thanks for sharing, Pete. Wish you could share more of Pete’s photographs. I live in the suburbs of IL so, perhaps I will see some of Pete’s work around?

  2. eliza&una says:

    so present. yes.

  3. lorena says:

    what a cool guy

  4. Mikegeez says:

    Ive skated that spot. Glad to see Im not the only one.