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Kelsey Schulz A Duality of Passions

on Monday, 27 February 2012. Posted in Magazine, Bartenders, Eat This! February 2012

Kelsey-IMG 9824_2For most artists I know, the phrase "supplementing income" is not lost on them. It seems a second job is a near necessity for many who decide to eschew a "traditional" job and instead practice a passion. Conversely, it is often the case for the person serving you a cocktail on any given night that that isn't the only thing they do. For many of us, work is a duality that involves sacrificing long hours and late nights to be able to wake the next day and do what we love.

Bartender/photographer Kelsey Schulz is one of the aforementioned many; spending ample time behind the bar at The Roost and equal time behind the lenses of her camera. This is the story of her duality.

Like most in the industry, Kelsey climbed the food and beverage ladder, starting as a TCBY yogurt maker to burger joint malt girl ("It was the single worst job I've ever had.") to fine dining restaurant server. Eventually she got the chance to learn to tend bar hands-on. "One of the servers I had worked with forever left to open a bar and he told me he wanted me to learn to tend bar and work for him," she said. "So first day I walk in and there is this huge guy standing back there. He told me: 'The first rule of bartending is you have to drink,' and he drank Power Shots (Wild Turkey and 151 straight) so we did Power Shots and he taught me how to make martinis. Basically, I got a break from a friend."

Around that time, Kelsey had also started venturing further into what until then had been a loose hobby. "I remember always having a disposable camera and I just started taking pictures of art that already existed," Kelsey said. "But the first photograph I ever made was at this empty baseball field. It a windy fall day and dead leaves were getting blown into the fence. I photographed it and realized that I had captured this one moment — that was the first time I photographed something that was in and of itself."

These days, Kelsey is beyond dead leaves at baseball fields. Having finished art school, she has moved past the mechanics of the craft and into the philosophical realm of it. And while photography and bartending seem so diametrically opposed, Kelsey draws more similarity than what lies on the surface. "I think the social aspect of the two are important," she said.

But according to Kelsey, one of the greatest payoffs of her particular duality comes from the fulfillment that both jobs provide. "I think both of them are fulfilling to me because of my love of human nature; the way we interact and why we are the way we are, the way we change. Behind the bar, you're constantly moving and just taking it all in and in a photograph, you can still take it all in, but you also have this one captured moment that can be dissected and picked apart. I think they're both just such an interesting study on people." Well said, dually speaking of course.

by Chris West

Kelsey can be found most nights working at The Roost in Avondale and her photography can be found at www.kelseyschulz.com.

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