OUR STORY

LOOKING FOR AN ADVENTURE?

“YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE TALL TO SEE THE MOON”

~ AFRICAN PROVERB

With a love of both road trips and Americana, Chris and I found a way to create art in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night, for people who simply want something different to hang on their walls. We travel all over the country to find these unique places. Kinda like paint on a white canvas, we use colored strobes and flashlights on a black one. No need for computer trickery here! We also don’t really give a big whoop about camera nerdery. Long exposure photography is simply the tool to capture this work. The REAL art happens beyond the camera, and the REAL story is told as we literally shed light on these magical places that have long since been forgotten.

So if you dig stories over static and bizarre over basic, stay awhile.

ON THE ROAD

Dashboard Confessional II - Okaton, SD

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

There’s quite the twisty tale that lead us from there to here, but a little storytime never hurt anyone. Back in 2009, when we first met on a bar stool with the Blackhawks killin’ it in a playoff game, Chris introduced me to his adventurous world of urban and rural exploration. I was hooked. (On the adventure stuff too.)

Armed with cameras, Clif Bars, and quite a bit of adventurous spirit, we took to America…but all the dark corners I had never even considered to explore. From the streets of Gary, Indiana, to the desert roads of Ludlow, California, one mission tied these routes together: let’s help people remember the forgotten through photographs. And maybe write about it too.

See, back in 2008, Chris self-published a small book of Route 66 Polaroids called Fading Nostalgia. Two years later, while we sipped our cups of coffee, the seeds of a full-blown Fading Nostalgia website were planted. We began to discuss what the site would stand for, and how it would be utilized: photography, adventures, and history at the center.

In 2011, we finally launched our little web project, just in time to help “jumpstart” our plan to complete, design, print, and publish a full-scale reboot of Chris’s aforementioned book. Polaroid Photos from Route 66 was born. Throughout 2012, we literally packed up a vintage suitcase of books, took to the road, and peddled our baby door-to-door, along the Route, from Chicago to Los Angeles.

But wait, there’s more! In between “day job” stuff, we also took on a new adventure: summers filled to the brim with selling our work in art festivals, plus winters packed with night-time photo shoots under the full moon. From our humble beginnings in a little one-day art show in Kenosha, WI, to dozens upon dozens art festivals throughout the country—from Minneapolis to Austin to Kansas City to Louisville, this night photography thing totally became a full-time gig for us. No looking back.

But times, they were a-changin. A new vibe. 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 our bread and butter—we considered the fact that, perhaps, a change of name might help clarify our primary focus. Yep, highlighting America’s fading nostalgic culture of yore still plays a pivotal role today. Our new name—the Flash Nites—directly arose from a love of old soul singers and jazz musicians, glowing jukeboxes 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

There’s quite the twisty tale that lead us from there to here, but a little storytime never hurt anyone. Back in 2009, when we first met on a bar stool with the Blackhawks killin’ it in a playoff game, Chris introduced me to his adventurous world of urban and rural exploration. I was hooked. (On the adventure stuff too.)

Armed with cameras, Clif Bars, and quite a bit of adventurous spirit, we took to America…but all the dark corners I had never even considered to explore. From the streets of Gary, Indiana, to the desert roads of Ludlow, California, one mission tied these routes together: let’s help people remember the forgotten through photographs. And maybe write about it too.

See, back in 2008, Chris self-published a small book of Route 66 Polaroids called Fading Nostalgia. Two years later, while we sipped our cups of coffee, the seeds of a full-blown Fading Nostalgia website were planted. We began to discuss what the site would stand for, and how it would be utilized: photography, adventures, and history at the center.

In 2011, we finally launched our little web project, just in time to help “jumpstart” our plan to complete, design, print, and publish a full-scale reboot of Chris’s aforementioned book. Polaroid Photos from Route 66 was born. Throughout 2012, we literally packed up a vintage suitcase of books, took to the road, and peddled our baby door-to-door, along the Route, from Chicago to Los Angeles.

But wait, there’s more! In between “day job” stuff, we also took on a new adventure: summers filled to the brim with selling our work in art festivals, plus winters packed with night-time photo shoots under the full moon. From our humble beginnings in a little one-day art show in Kenosha, WI, to dozens upon dozens art festivals throughout the country—from Minneapolis to Austin to Kansas City to Louisville, this night photography thing totally became a full-time gig for us. No looking back.

But times, they were a-changin. A new vibe. 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 our bread and butter—we considered the fact that, perhaps, a change of name might help clarify our primary focus. Yep, highlighting America’s fading nostalgic culture of yore still plays a pivotal role today. Our new name—the Flash Nites—directly arose from a love of old soul singers and jazz musicians, glowing jukeboxes 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, I’ve spent most of my life exploring parts of the world people don’t give a second glance, if not a first! Growing up with a brilliantly talented father, I’ve always been interested in art. When I found that photography is what I’m best at, I searched for new types of subject matter and immediately became drawn to rust, dust, and decay. So I combined my appreciation for urban and rural exploration with my cursed ability to stay up ’til dawn. With a lot of experimentation, I’ve worked hard to put my own spin on the not-so-new technique and paved my way as one of the forerunning light painters in the midwest. The terrible, but well-suited pun “shed new light” describes my 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 I was a little kid, I’ve has been obsessed with kitschy weird giant things. In my little hometown of Altoona, IA, I 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, I begged my mom to climb around on the brightly colored fiberglass zoo animals. And downtown, in glamorous Des Moines, sat my biggest love of all: Crusoe the big green umbrella. I carried her love for kitschy weird giant things through my whole life. So when I finally stumbled upon one Chris Robleski—whose love for kitschy weird giant things was plastered all over his Bay View apartment—I knew I literally met my match. I soaked up as much as I could about Chris’s photography techniques, and when it’s dark, cold, and very very late, I grab a flashlight and sneak into cob-webbed, mice-ridden, damp, moldy buildings to help Chris get the perfect shot (and I am NOT afraid to tell him what looks like garbage!)

MEET CHRIS

One part night owl, one part old soul, one part weary traveler, I’ve spent most of my life exploring parts of the world people don’t give a second glance, if not a first! Growing up with a brilliantly talented father, I’ve always been interested in art. When I found that photography is what I’m best at, I searched for new types of subject matter and immediately became drawn to rust, dust, and decay. So I combined my appreciation for urban and rural exploration with my cursed ability to stay up ’til dawn. With a lot of experimentation, I’ve worked hard to put my own spin on the not-so-new technique and paved my way as one of the forerunning light painters in the midwest. The terrible, but well-suited pun “shed new light” describes my 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 I was a little kid, I’ve has been obsessed with kitschy weird giant things. In my little hometown of Altoona, IA, I 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, I begged my mom to climb around on the brightly colored fiberglass zoo animals. And downtown, in glamorous Des Moines, sat my biggest love of all: Crusoe the big green umbrella. I carried her love for kitschy weird giant things through my whole life. So when I finally stumbled upon one Chris Robleski—whose love for kitschy weird giant things was plastered all over his Bay View apartment—I knew I literally met my match. I soaked up as much as I could about Chris’s photography techniques, and when it’s dark, cold, and very very late, I grab a flashlight and sneak into cob-webbed, mice-ridden, damp, moldy buildings to help Chris get the perfect shot (and I am NOT afraid to tell him what looks like garbage!)

you can tag along

Exploration stories 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 our lustrous past so we can feel more connected to one another.

So stick around, check in often.

You can sit in the back (follow us on all the social things), but if you want to ride shotgun, email is where it’s at.