Twenty-five year old party photographer Kirill Bichutsky, a.k.a Kirill Was Here, does not lurk around the crowd trying to get posed photos of New York City's favorite celebs. Instead, you can usually find him in the DJ booth, bottle of Patron in one hand and camera in another.
NiteSide caught up with GoldBar's resident photographer about his friendship with 'Lil Jon, how he's not much of a downtown guy, and that if you'd like to be shot for KirillWasHere.com, you have to be raging.
How did you get set up with shooting for Sunday Funday at GoldBar? I met Jesse [Marco] in the Hamptons just shooting out there, and we became friends partying out there. I started rolling with him to a few gigs -- Dusk in Atlantic City -- and we just kind of started bulls---ing and he was like, 'Yo, you'd be perfect for our Sunday night party. I'm going to bring you in.' So I started shooting just in the booth because I know there's a no-photo policy and slowly started warming my way onto the crowd and everyone just sort of welcomed it.
What were you doing before Funday? Well, Funday is actually pretty recent, I think it started end of last year -- but I've basically been shooting the fun parties. Anywhere I want to be, that's what I shoot. I don't really go to parties that people are like, 'Yo come through here' -- if I don't wan a go there, then I'm not coming. It's basically anywhere I can drink and there's good music I'm there with my camera.
How long have you been involved in the photography game? Well, the site is going to be a year this month, but I've always had a camera and all my friends are DJs so we've always just f----ed around with the camera in the booth. When the site launched, that's when it went public.
What made you decide that you wanted to be a party photographer? What started it was one night at Citrine -- it was me, Alex Glenn and a couple of other people and DJ Berrie in the booth, and I was like, 'This crowd is nuts and it's packed and I've got a camera at home.' So I ran home, got it and then shot up the whole room the whole night and we were just sitting around like, 'Where are we going to put these photos?' I'm a graphic designer so I didn't want to just put them up on Flickr. So I decided to make a custom site. My roommate is a web developer so we kind of just threw a site together, came up with the name over night and put them online and people kind of went to it -- it was weird.
Do you have a relationship with other nightlife photographers? I know Nicky [Digital], I've seen him around. I'm a huge fan of Driven By Boredom and Photo By Tone -- I don't know those guys. The one guy I'm close friends with who's not like a nightlife photographer in my sense, is Jerritt Clark from Wire Image. ... I rarely run into anyone-- it's weird. I think most of the other nightlife photographers stay below 14th Street, but I kind of rarely go below 14th Street. I'm not much of a downtown guy. I don't know why. I guess I should kind of explore more of the downtown scene since it's more fun sometimes, but I tend to stay at the more mainstream clubs.
What are your favorite spots to hit up? To shoot at -- GoldBar, easily, and I love shooting at Juliet. I used to love shooting at Citrine before it closed. But it's not really the venue, it's the people. I usually roll with my best friend Danny (Silent Dan), and we usually just bring out a s--- ton of friends. So whatever club we go to we just bring the camera, and they don't usually yell at us and if they do we kinda drop some names and hopefully they'll let us shoot. It's the party and not really about the venue as much. I've been in great venues and it's been s---.
Since you live in Midtown, are there any places you like to hit up when you put the camera down, just local hangs? It's so funny because I'm so out of the loop when it comes to the bar scene. I've been trying to find places nearby. I really like comedy shows -- my career path is graphic design with comedians. I'm only friends with DJs and comedians. So I hit up comedy shows most of the time. Other than that I don't really have any free time. And if I do, I'm sleeping or just laying around and watching movies. ... Usually 20 minutes before I show up here, I'm in my pajamas. It's rough because I have a day job.
What have been some memorable celebrity encounters?Michael Chiklis from "The Wire." I was watching that show for like three months straight, and I met him. Usually I don't really care about celebs. The one persona I met that I was like "holy s---" is Lil' Jon. We met through LMFAO and then he kind of hit me up on Twitter, and then I met him at Sundance and solidified it. And it's just weird because to actually text or talk with him is still kind surreal. A year ago I was like, 'Whatever, I'm going to shoot parties,' and now I'm creating a name that some people in the industry actually recognize me that I actually like.