Max Fischer by Kevin Miyazaki in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

“It’s a proud, unpretentious place with blue collar roots. The art and food scenes are strong and growing at all levels. Milwaukee is a place that people with good ideas can make them happen.” Let’s explore this underrated American city through the beautiful local lens of photographer Kevin Miyazaki. Be sure to follow his awesome Instagram feeds: @kevinmiyazaki and @_plate

Name:Kevin Miyazaki

Place you live: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Occupation: Editorial and fine art photographer

Preoccupation: Traveling. I get to see a lot of great places for my editorial assignments, and also spend time visiting my girlfriend in St. Louis.

Place your Instagrams were taken? Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Can you sum up Milwaukee? Milwaukee sits on the Western shore of Lake Michigan, the fifth largest lake in the world. It’s a proud, unpretentious place with blue collar roots. The art and food scenes are strong and growing at all levels. Milwaukee is a place that people with good ideas can make them happen.

What is a perfect day in Milwaukee? Winters are tough here, so it would be a warm Spring day when everyone is smiling. I’d start with art, maybe a show at the Milwaukee Art Museum, Portrait Society Gallery or the Haggerty Museum of Art; lunch from one of the great vendors at the Milwaukee Public Market; an afternoon pit stop at one of the county park outdoor beer gardens; then dinner c. 1880 in the Walker’s Point neighborhood.

If Milwaukee was a person who would it be? Maybe Max Fischer from the movie, Rushmore: Smart and creative, but under the radar and a bit unappreciated. Earnest, but a bit flawed. Quietly stylish and not worried what others think. Lots of heart, but doesn’t always get the girl.

How long have you been using Instagram? For two years now – I entered kicking and screaming (having been an old school blogger) but with great encouragement from Milwaukee photographers @jonhorvath, @tarabogart and @sarastathas.

What do you shoot with? I have two Instagram feeds: @kevinmiyazaki, where all the photos are shot and processed with iPhone 4s and iPhone 5s; and @_plate, a venue for my editorial food work – those are mostly camera pictures from my restaurant assignments.

What is your editing process? I use Snapseed and do all the processing on my 4s.

Has Instagram affected how you shoot? I shoot from different sides of my brain if I’m making artwork or shooting editorial assignments. I love that my phone photography isn’t quite like either. And I think everything we make influences everything else, so yes, absolutely.

Can you give a couple tips to aspiring Instagram photographers? Treat your phone just like any other camera, embracing its limitations and strengths. Once I started doing this, I really began enjoying shooting with it. And just because it’s a phone, it doesn’t mean you should take less time composing and shooting. I’ve learned to be more patience in making pictures and the results have been noticeable.

Want more Instagram tips and inspiration? Check out all of our Best of Instagram features and learn from the masters.

Want to be featured on our best of Instagram series and bask in the glory? Follow Global Yodel on Instagram and tag your best local shots with #GlobalYodel!


Name:Kevin Miyazaki


Best place to eat:

Ardent. At night, the tiny spot (22 seats) serves inventive, high-end food and by later night (11pm on weekends), it changes over to a crowded, bustling, affordable ramen shop.

Best place to drink:

Caffeine: Stone Creek Coffee in the Third Ward; Cocktails: Bryant’s; Beer: Brenner Brewing, founded by Mike Brenner, a longtime champion of the local art scene.

Best outdoor activity:

It should involve Lake Michigan – walking, biking, or generally hanging out in the enormous amount of public space along the shoreline. During every summer weekend, there’s some kind of large or small festival, with friendly locals and cold beer.