Chasing Something Bigger with Krys Henry
Krys Henry is a Texas-based strategic creative whose work focuses on creating community, telling the stories of those he meets, and capturing images that speak to the emotions of the moment. We talked with him about everything from honoring his parent’s hard work with his own, and what it felt like to capture this past summer’s protests in photographs — to his work as a barista, and his multifaceted podcast. The thread weaving it all together is a clear passion for creating community connection, even in moments as seemingly simple as remembering your cafe regular’s favorite drink.
First things first! Where did you grow up, and who in your life helped inspire the work you do now?
I was born in St. Johns, Antigua and immigrated to Titusville, Florida when I was young. Titusville is NASA’s main location, so I spent my childhood on the space coast watching rockets and enjoying the beaches.
My parents worked incredibly hard to make a good life for my brothers and I in the States. They inspire the way I work now; I try to excel in anything I put my hands in to honor their sacrifices.
Growing up we had the freedom to do whatever activities we wanted to try, which I loved. I played several instruments as a child and still do now. Also enjoyed a number of sports: basketball, football, and soccer to name a few.
What goes into the morning routine of someone who traverses the strategic creativity worlds of music, photography, fashion, tech, and more?
My morning routine varies throughout the week. Some mornings might be spent grabbing coffee with a friend, some mornings are spent on my balcony staring off into the distance and pondering life’s biggest questions lol or daydreaming. A lot of times I use the morning to read scripture and learn more about Jesus.
Can you tell us more about your experience as a barista? How does what you learned in that work fit into the creative work you do today, and into how you brew coffee at home?
I spent three years being a baker and barista in college; it was one of my favorite jobs to date. I can still remember some of my regular customer’s orders. Often, I would play a game where I would see their car drive up then I would try to have their coffee ready just as they walked up to the register to pay.
My favorite part about the job was the people interactions. It was so satisfying to make a bomb cappuccino with just the right amount of foam, or a great London fog, and see the relief and pure delight that would come over people’s faces.
What I learned in that role is that people matter. I don’t think it's enough to only produce a stellar product. I think the connection to the customer is where the magic happens. The ability to make a consumer feel a part of something bigger is what I think businesses should strive for. I learned that making coffee, and I try to think about that in the creative work I do today. I want people to feel like they are a part of what I’m doing while also delivering a great product.
You’ve shared that you’re someone who has a “ton of hobbies and interests”! Have you created any new ones during these past 10 months of quarantine time?
I have been cooking, baking, and crafting cocktails.
Photography wise, what are your favorite types of images to capture and create? Do you have a favorite photograph you have taken during your work as a photographer, or just amidst your travels and adventures?
My favorite photos to create are lifestyle images of places or experiences that I’ve enjoyed or think need to be documented. By nature, I think humans want to share what they love. It is definitely true for me!
I love to capture places that I travel to that I think are beautiful, and that others might want to visit as well.
This past summer, following a string of events related to the devaluing of black lives in America, a number of protests took place here in the Capitol of Texas, Austin. I was able to document many of the protests. This was some of my favorite work thus far, and I really tried to capture the feel/pain/movement of the protests.
What is a dream collaborative project of yours?
I would love to collaborate with a travel company like an airline. It would be awesome to curate experiences for groups of friends -- things that are unique, memorable, and refreshing. I think planning and photographing the experience would be really satisfying to my desire to create spaces for connection and documenting it along the way.
Tell us more about your podcast “Prophetic Foolishness”! When did you start it, and what types of topics do you cover with your co-collaborator?
This podcast was birthed out of my co-host, Osagie, and I meeting for coffee every Friday morning. We discussed life, scripture, marriage, and a myriad of other things.
We talk about any/everything that will challenge societal norms. Some of the topics are really light and fun i.e. are washcloths better than loofahs. Other topics are a bit more challenging to society at large, i.e. “Should women ask men out on dates?”
All in all – it's always a fun time. The topics are real and relevant, and you will always feel like a part of the conversation.
Finally, we’ve got to know, if you could have one coffee beverage every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I would have a pour-over with an Ethiopian bean. I think Chemex for the pour-over would be the best; super light and refreshing. I could drink that EVERY DAY!