Every fall, AMLI throws a social media contest for the residents living at its communities around the country. Last fall, we held an Instagram and Facebook photo contest called My AMLI View, which sought the brightest, best, and most creative shots residents could muster from in and around their AMLI communities. Some residents chose to snap photos from their balconies, others looked to their building’s unique design for inspiration, and still some chose to focus on the natural areas and neighborhood surrounding their AMLI community. A select few even decided to capture a scene straight from their very own living rooms.

The point of it all was to get residents’ creative energies flowing and foster pride in the local neighborhoods and communities in which they live. Each AMLI community champions a feel of its own that blends the character of its surroundings with the style of the day. Apartments in Houston will be different from apartments in Florida, and apartments in California are in a class of their own. And those local particularities were put on full display by AMLI residents living in the nine regional areas where AMLI has apartment communities.

A cohort of AMLI judges narrowed down a pool of hundreds of photo submissions to an impressive group of finalists consisting of three photos from each of AMLI’s nine regions. Residents and the public at-large then voted for their favorite of the bunch and a week later winners emerged. The photo with the most votes won the grand prize, and nine runners-up with the most votes in their regions won prizes as well.

This month’s photo of the month is brought to you courtesy of Chris, a resident of AMLI 900 in the South Loop neighborhood of downtown Chicago. Chris was Chicago’s regional winner for the My AMLI View contest and won a Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 camera with film for his efforts. We caught up with Chris for a brief interview about his photo, his process, and his inspiration. Find that interview below.

1. What kind of camera(s) do you use?

I use the Nikon D3200 for all my shots. The thing I like the most about it is the price. For just a couple hundred dollars you can get a quality DSLR.

2. Do you use any special equipment that you especially like when you take photographs?

The only equipment I occasionally use is a tripod, but it’s not often I do.

3. What types of things do you like to take photos of? What inspires you?

I like to take photos of landscapes and people. Specifically in the city. I’m inspired by everyday things people do, and I like to capture that moment and freeze it in time.

4. What was the inspiration for your My AMLIView photo? What kinds of considerations did you make while taking it?

Taking the picture for My AMLI View was a bit of coincidence. Just a few days prior to the event being announced, I had visited the rooftop. One day, the sky looked breathtaking on top of the Chicago skyline. The orange street lights contrasted against the dark blue sky. I didn’t have to consider much. It was just a fantastic view from my building’s rooftop.

5. Are there any Instagram accounts or photo blogs you love to follow? Which and why?

There are a couple of accounts I like to follow on Instagram. Most of them relate to street photography and building architecture. Such accounts include @kohki and @eeeeeeeno to name a few. I love their style and how they can make me feel how I’m in the picture myself.

6. Do you have any tips for aspiring photographers and Instagrammers out there?

I think photography is a very simple thing for people starting out. Just take many, many, many pictures. It doesn’t matter if they are good or bad. It’s all about practicing your eye for photography. Having other photographer friends in the community doesn’t hurt either.

7. What’s the best part about living at your AMLI community?

There are too many “best parts” to name. For one the building location is extremely convenient as it is really close to The Loop downtown, but not so close that you will hear the city traffic buzzing at night. As a photographer, the rooftop is always a place I like to go. The skyline view at nighttime is absolutely breathtaking, and the lake during summer afternoons glistens marvelously. All in all, AMLI 900 is a great residence for comfort and city views.

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About Nick Kotecki


Nick is AMLI's Social Media and Content Marketing Manager. When he's not on the AMLI Blog you can find him in the woods, in a book or on a plane headed away from it all. He has written and edited for many publications, including the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Houston Chronicle, Denver Post, Time Out and Newsday.