Casey Kelbaugh 1

Who Am I ?


May 2011

1: Who am I?

Casey Kelbaugh: photographer and founder of Slideluck Potshow.

2: What do you do and what project are you currently working on?

I make my living as an editorial and commercial photographer, but I pour most of my hours into my non-profit organization, Slideluck Potshow. Our mission is to build and strengthen community around food and art, and we do so by hosting multimedia slideshows combined with potluck dinners in over fifty cities around the world. We also have a Youth Initiative–which is run by PMc photographer, Amber De Vos–and we teach photography and multimedia storytelling to underprivileged kids in New York. This July and August, we are excited to be providing opportunities to kids from all over the city at Hudson Guild’s summer camp.

Currently, most of my energy is devoted towards our 16th Slideluck Potshow in New York, which is taking place at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Dumbo on Saturday, May 14th! This event is in conjunction with The New York Photo Festival and will be the main event for that Saturday night and our global showcase of the best talent from around the world. The slideshow will be curated by Whitney Johnson, Director of Photography for The New Yorker and the theme is Upheaval–something we are seeing a lot of these days in politics, nature, religion, art, media, relationships, technology, and education.

Last year, our show drew over 1,000 people and together we broke the Guinness World Record for the Largest Potluck on Earth! We’re also doing a Beautiful Bountiful Brooklyn Tasting Hour, for 150 participants, that will bring together a bunch of Brooklyn-based organizations and restaurants. If you’ve never been to one of our shows, this is definitely the one to check out, it’s our grandest, buzziest event of the year.

3: Where are you from and where are you going?

I was born in Princeton, NJ, but spent most of my upbringing in Seattle. For the last seven years, I’ve called the East Village home. Not planning on going anywhere anytime soon–unless of course you count our upcoming Slidelucks in Amsterdam, Milan, Bucharest, Paris, and London, this June.

4: Who is your biggest hero?

I’ve always really admired my dad. He was an influential solar architect who then went into academics and urban planning. He made a name for himself at an early age and has never sat still–he’s always taking on new challenges and trying to be better at what he does. He and my stepmom just returned to University of Michigan after a couple years working in Dubai–an opportunity that came out of the blue and he embraced. I think what impresses me most is that the same principles of social and environmental justice that he started his career with forty years ago are guiding the work he does today.

5: What book is your bible?

I don’t bring it out very often, but when I’m feeling a bit lost, I consult the McNally World Atlas my parents gave me many years ago. Seriously.

6: What are some things you love?  And some things you hate?

I love to ride my bicycle. It’s an orange ’77 Schwinn one-speed and I use it all year long to get around town. It not only saves me time and money, but it’s good exercise and I enjoy the fresh air. I work from home, so I tend to head out in the evenings, and riding a bike allows me to effortlessly hit up to five events in a night.

I also love to cook. As food is a really important part of my organization, I usually prepare a nice lunch for my team each day. I generally see it as an opportunity to get off my computer and do something creative. Afterwards, we post the pictures on Facebook.

I don’t like wasting time or cheesy nightclubs. They both hurt my soul.

7: What is your raison d’être?

I much prefer golden raisins–especially when added to homemade meatballs.

8: What is your favorite color?

Color is relative to what is around it, so I guess it depends.

9: Who is your favorite comic book superhero?

Strangely, I went through a period where I collected comic books quite seriously (which I still have), but no one is standing out to me. I guess if you included The Adventures of Tintin, I would have to say Tintin. He got to travel a lot and go on fun adventures.

10: What is your favorite NYC hot spot?

I feel like it depends wherever events are taking place–on a given night, I may find myself in a Chelsea gallery, a hotel bar, someone’s loft, the roof of Soho House, and then some basement dive in the Lower East Side. When I’m just going for a drink with friends, I tend to keep it in the East Village/LES. There is a bar that recently opened next door to me called Dorian Grey, which is really cozy. I also frequent Elsa, Cabin, Von, and occasionally Kenmare or the Jane Hotel.

11: What turns you on?

People that are engaged and making something of their life–it’s not so much about where they started, but how they allocate their resources. Cooking an amazing meal with only what happens to be in the fridge. Bourbon and water in a really nice rocks glass. Finding connections between people.

12: What would the last question of this questionnaire be if you were the one asking?

Q: What’s more important, having fun or working hard?

A: I really don’t know, but it’s something I wrestle with everyday.

Casey Kelbaugh is a NYC-based photographer and the founder and director of Slideluck Potshow. He is a frequent contributor to The New York Times and his work has appeared in: The Atlantic Monthly, The Wall Street Journal, L’Express, Fortune, The Daily Telegraph, National Geographic Adventure, Metropolis, Businessweek, Der Spiegel, and Men’s Health. Commercial clients include: Nike, Clinique, RBS, Chex, Wyeth and NYU.

Kelbaugh founded Slideluck Potshow in his Seattle backyard in the summer of 2000. In 2003, he moved to New York, and it grew very rapidly, but organically. In 2009, Slideluck gained non-profit status and they now receive emails every single day, inviting them to bring Slideluck to their city. Most recently: Singapore, Beirut, and Pittsburgh. Last December, Sideluck held their first fundraiser/auction, which was highly successful and hosted by none other than Patrick McMullan himself.


Slideluck Potshow

Upcoming SLPS on May 14th

Slideluck on Facebook

Slideluck on Twitter

Casey Kelbaugh Photography

Overseen by Jillian Mercado

Questions by PMc Magazine

Edited by Meaghan Coffey

Photography by Lawrence Lewis / Courtesy of Casey Kelbaugh

Design by Jillian Mercado

Contact Jillian Mercado if you’re interested in becoming a “Who Am I?”


Casey Kelbaugh at SLIDELUCK POTSHOW Woodstock, July 2010, Photography by Lawrence Lewis / Courtesy of Casey Kelbaugh

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