OUR STORY

LOOKING FOR AN ADVENTURE

"YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE TALL TO SEE THE MOON"

~ AFRICAN PROVERB

When we step into the night, the rich darkness expands before us like a theater before a performance. We feel like conductors of a humble, but expansive orchestra. Each player has a crucial role – the moon, the stars, the lights and the time that passes – all have to harmonize to create a completed piece of work. For the colors you see bursting from broken windows and splashed across peeling walls haven’t been manipulated by technology. We create the color onsite, painting it by hand, so to speak. With the full moon at our side, we pop strobes and wield flashlights like paintbrushes across the interiors of these structures, capturing the vibrance through long exposure photography. The internal lights provide a warmth, a palpable sense of nostalgia to dark places you’ve never seen, but feel so familiar. Man-made light against the backdrop of natural history reminds us of our smallness in a way that is both intimate and intimidating. Hold on and let go.

ON THE ROAD

Field Report

We’re always a full gas tank away from hopping in the car to head somewhere, ANYwhere–day or night, sweltering or sub-zero, near or far, sometimes very far. There is no building too forbidden, farmhouse too remote, or road too meandering. Each location is a mini adventure unto itself with stories that must be shared.

EMBRACING THE ABANDONED

Painted Desert Trading Post

Crawling inside a room coated in grime, cobwebs and perhaps a little animal excrement won’t stop our curiosity. There’s nothing like the rush you get the second you know it’s just you in there…or at least the squatters are keeping quiet! Suddenly you realize several hours have passed and you have only scratched the surface.

LOVING THE KITSCH

Futuro Home

The plastic icing on the fiberglass cake of urban and rural exploration is stumbling upon a road trip oddity or finally visiting one we heard about only to discover that it truly is THAT odd!! America’s road freaks become our friends away from home. Hoping, of course, that they aren’t one day dismantled and disappear forever.

the artists formerly-known-as Fading Nostalgia

In 2009, Chris introduced Katie to the world of urban and rural exploration. Armed with cameras, Clif Bars, and quite a bit of adventurous spirit, the two headed out into America. From the streets of Gary, Indiana, to the desert roads of Ludlow, California, one mission tied these routes together: help people remember the forgotten through photographs and the written word.

The year before they met, in 2008, Chris published a small book of Route 66 Polaroids called Fading Nostalgia. Two years later, while chatting over several cups of coffee, the seeds of a Fading Nostalgia website were planted. Katie snagged the domain and the two began to discuss what the site would stand for and how it would be utilized: photography, adventures, and history at the center.

In 2011, the website was finally solidified and launched, just in time to help “jumpstart” their plan to complete, design, print, and publish a full-scale reboot of Chris’s first book. Polaroid Photos from Route 66 was born. Throughout 2012, Chris and Katie took to the road and sold their new book door-to-door, along the Route, from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Starting in August of 2011, Chris and Katie took on a new adventure: summers filled to the brim with selling their work in art festivals, winters packed with photo shoots under the full moon. Upping their game from a single one-day art show in Kenosha, WI, to upwards of over a dozen art festivals throughout the country—from Minneapolis to Austin to Kansas City to Louisville, this night photography thing is totally a full-time gig and there’s no looking back.

Fading Nostalgia was born out of old roadside brochures, greasy diner food, and blurry Polaroid photographs. But over the past half-decade—as light painting and night photography became Chris and Katie’s bread and butter—they considered the fact that, perhaps, a change of name might help clarify their primary focus to their ever-increasing audience. Yep, highlighting America’s fading nostalgic culture of yore still plays a pivotal role today. And the new name—the Flash Nites—directly arose from a love of old soul singers and jazz musicians, glowing juke boxes and dusty record jackets, and a romantic night drive from the busy downtown streets into the quiet countryside…the very things that fuel the journey through the arteries of America.

No matter what the name, the mission is and always will be the same: Explore the Lost. Play in the Dark. Illuminate History.

the artists formerly-known-as Fading Nostalgia

In 2009, Chris introduced Katie to the world of urban and rural exploration. Armed with cameras, Clif Bars, and quite a bit of adventurous spirit, the two headed out into America. From the streets of Gary, Indiana, to the desert roads of Ludlow, California, one mission tied these routes together: help people remember the forgotten through photographs and the written word.

The year before they met, in 2008, Chris published a small book of Route 66 Polaroids called Fading Nostalgia. Two years later, while chatting over several cups of coffee, the seeds of a Fading Nostalgia website were planted. Katie snagged the domain and the two began to discuss what the site would stand for and how it would be utilized: photography, adventures, and history at the center.

In 2011, the website was finally solidified and launched, just in time to help “jumpstart” their plan to complete, design, print, and publish a full-scale reboot of Chris’s first book. Polaroid Photos from Route 66 was born. Throughout 2012, Chris and Katie took to the road and sold their new book door-to-door, along the Route, from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Starting in August of 2011, Chris and Katie took on a new adventure: summers filled to the brim with selling their work in art festivals, winters packed with photo shoots under the full moon. Upping their game from a single one-day art show in Kenosha, WI, to upwards of over a dozen art festivals throughout the country—from Minneapolis to Austin to Kansas City to Louisville, this night photography thing is totally a full-time gig and there’s no looking back.

Fading Nostalgia was born out of old roadside brochures, greasy diner food, and blurry Polaroid photographs. But over the past half-decade—as light painting and night photography became Chris and Katie’s bread and butter—they considered the fact that, perhaps, a change of name might help clarify their primary focus to their ever-increasing audience. Yep, highlighting America’s fading nostalgic culture of yore still plays a pivotal role today. And the new name—the Flash Nites—directly arose from a love of old soul singers and jazz musicians, glowing juke boxes and dusty record jackets, and a romantic night drive from the busy downtown streets into the quiet countryside…the very things that fuel the journey through the arteries of America.

No matter what the name, the mission is and always will be the same: Explore the Lost. Play in the Dark. Illuminate History.

MEET CHRIS

One part night owl, one part old soul, one part weary traveler, Chris has spent most of his life exploring parts of the world people don’t give a second glance, if not a first! Growing up with a brilliantly artistic and talented father, Chris has always been interested in art. When he found that photography is what he’s best at, he searched for new types of subject matter and immediately became drawn to rust, dust, and decay. Over the last decade, he has combined his appreciation for urban and rural exploration with his cursed ability to stay up ’til dawn. Curious about the very young and burgeoning concept of night photography and “light painting,” Chris learned the basics from night photographer Troy Paiva. With a lot of experimentation, Chris put his own spin on the new technique and paved his way as one of the forerunning night photographers in the midwest. In addition to joining the large rank of urban and rural explorers, Chris tries to find a unique way of looking at these abandoned spaces. The terrible, but well-suited pun “shed new light” describes his mission, particularly to people who have no idea why there’s a guy out in the middle of nowhere climbing around an old farmhouse with colored flashlights when it’s 10 below zero.

Ever since she was a little kid, Katie has been obsessed with kitschy weird giant things. In her little hometown of Altoona, IA, she loved The Big Steer not because it was a local steakhouse favorite, but because of the huge fiberglass bull outside. At the nearby department store Richman Gordman’s, she begged her mom to climb around on the brightly colored fiberglass zoo animals. And downtown, in glamorous Des Moines, sat her biggest love of all: Crusoe the big green umbrella. She carried her love for kitschy weird giant things through her whole life. She wandered around in awe the first time she visited the House on the Rock’s ginormous whale, and the first time she drove past the Wisconsin Dells’ flipped over White House. So when she finally stumbled upon one Chris Robleski–whose love for kitschy weird giant things was plastered all over his Bay View apartment–she knew she met her match. Katie soaked up as much as she could about Chris’s photography techniques, and when it’s dark, cold, and very very late, she grabs a flashlight and sneaks into cob-webbed, mice-ridden, damp, moldy buildings to help Chris get the perfect shot (and she’s not afraid to tell him what looks like crap!)

MEET KATIE

MEET CHRIS

One part night owl, one part old soul, one part weary traveler, Chris has spent most of his life exploring parts of the world people don’t give a second glance, if not a first! Growing up with a brilliantly artistic and talented father, Chris has always been interested in art. When he found that photography is what he’s best at, he searched for new types of subject matter and immediately became drawn to rust, dust, and decay. Over the last decade, he has combined his appreciation for urban and rural exploration with his cursed ability to stay up ’til dawn. Curious about the very young and burgeoning concept of night photography and “light painting,” Chris learned the basics from night photographer Troy Paiva. With a lot of experimentation, Chris put his own spin on the new technique and paved his way as one of the forerunning night photographers in the midwest. In addition to joining the large rank of urban and rural explorers, Chris tries to find a unique way of looking at these abandoned spaces. The terrible, but well-suited pun “shed new light” describes his mission, particularly to people who have no idea why there’s a guy out in the middle of nowhere climbing around an old farmhouse with colored flashlights when it’s 10 below zero.

MEET KATIE

Ever since she was a little kid, Katie has been obsessed with kitschy weird giant things. In her little hometown of Altoona, IA, she loved The Big Steer not because it was a local steakhouse favorite, but because of the huge fiberglass bull outside. At the nearby department store Richman Gordman’s, she begged her mom to climb around on the brightly colored fiberglass zoo animals. And downtown, in glamorous Des Moines, sat her biggest love of all: Crusoe the big green umbrella. She carried her love for kitschy weird giant things through her whole life. She wandered around in awe the first time she visited the House on the Rock’s ginormous whale, and the first time she drove past the Wisconsin Dells’ flipped over White House. So when she finally stumbled upon one Chris Robleski–whose love for kitschy weird giant things was plastered all over his Bay View apartment–she knew she met her match. Katie soaked up as much as she could about Chris’s photography techniques, and when it’s dark, cold, and very very late, she grabs a flashlight and sneaks into cob-webbed, mice-ridden, damp, moldy buildings to help Chris get the perfect shot (and she’s not afraid to tell him what looks like crap!)

we travel to lost places so they can be found once again

Road trips, exploration stories, and sharing memories are always way more fun with friends, so join us on our search to uncover what this country so desperately needs: to remember and relish in its lustrous past.

So we hope you stick around, check in often, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, like us on Facebook, or contact us at ontheroad@fadingnostalgia.com.

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