Next City isn’t just a news website, we are a nonprofit organization with a mission to inspire social, economic and environmental change in cities. Part of how we do that is by connecting our readers to urban changemakers and holding an annual Vanguard conference bringing together 40 top young urban leaders. In anticipation of Next City’s annual Vanguard conference in Reno this year, May 6-8, we’re pleased to be working with many talented locals to make the event a success. For the next several weeks, we’ll be introducing people from our great “on-the-ground supporters” in Nevada. Chris Holloman is our 2015 Vanguard photographer. You’ll see his work in our conference coverage on the site.
Name: Chris Holloman
Current Occupation: Self-employed photographer
Hometown: Born in Decatur, Georgia but raised in Christchurch, New Zealand
Current City: Reno
I drink: Coffee, cream and sugar
Introvert or extrovert: I’m a turtle peeking his head outta his shell.
I get to work by: I saddle up my horse and I ride into the city … I make a lot o’ noise, coz the girls, they are so prett-yyyy … ”
The area I grew up in is: City, but flanked by beautiful rural areas
What was your first job? I worked at a farmers’ market in Athens, Georgia.
What is your favorite city and why? Eugene, Oregon. Known as “Tracktown USA” and embedded among some of the country’s most spectacular forest.
What do you do when you are not working? I typically take my dog, Murray, on hikes and roadtrips.
Did you always want to be a photographer? I actually wanted to work for National Geographic magazine as an illustrator. Photography was an accidental gift many years later.
What do you like most about your current job? I have found a personal connection to photography. It fits. Prior to my years behind the lens, I had no sense of identity and struggled to satisfy my hunger for a craft that required perfection. Now I feel as though the pride I take in my work has bled into how I feel about myself personally … I never want to stop improving.
Reno skyline shot by Chris Holloman
What is the biggest challenge facing cities today? I think, and this is only my opinion … but I see a huge void when developing cultural connections between areas that thrive and areas that don’t. There’s segregation simply by how some districts are positioned in relation to surrounding areas. Transportation isn’t the cause. I feel there’s an infrastructure issue that doesn’t allow for communities to expand into one another … I see it quite clearly as I travel in and around my own city.
What makes a successful leader?
1. Vision … and the ability to break that down into manageable parts.
2. Flexibility … and the knowledge to know when to compromise or stand your ground.
3. Quality … the one aspect where there is no compromise.
What’s your BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal)? To create a photograph that lands the cover of National Geographic. (OK … now that’s out there.)
Who do you most admire? Have you seen that guy sitting on the street corner with a cardboard sign, tattered American flag and wearing a worn, faded patch that reads “Veteran”? Yeah, those guys. With no guarantee they’d ever step foot on American soil again or return to see their loved ones, they went, without hesitation, they served and they have provided us the ability to call ourselves “free.” I personally have no military background. I feared the thought of losing my life, but I value those who risk theirs and choose to protect us.
What career advice would you give an emerging urban leader? I’d suggest that they never forget those who helped them reach their goals.