Hometown Project

Holy shit, it has been a long time…

There have been some obstacles this summer, that have affected the fluidity of my workflow. Long story short, I lost total access to the computer I was using. I now rely on the ones at the COD lab. However, due to my work schedule, its not always convenient to get over here. I am so accustomed to doing all my editing and posting at night.

It is time to get back into it.

As some of you may know, I got accepted to a mentor program with the Young Photographers Alliance. It has kept me quite busy this summer. The theme this year is “Hometown,” so perfectly suited for my documentary approach to my work. What does “Hometown” mean to me exactly?

Diners, bars, cafes, women, coffee, vegetarianism.

For this body of work, I chose to highlight what I know most. Women In Service. I am in the process of completing a series of environmental portraits of women who work in the service industry, and staying true to my vegetarian lifestyle, I have chosen to target establishments that offer a vegetarian menu. I am also looking for women who possess an original and authentic energy. The initial inspiration came from and assignment for my photo composition class, I had to emulate an artist; I chose Tom Waits. I chose the song, Invitation to the Blues specifically due to the fact it is about a female server in a diner. I placed myself in the position of the narrator, and photographed how I envisioned the woman Waits’ was singing about.

This is a subject that is very close to me, for waiting tables has helped support my work for many years. Its time to pay homage to women who wait tables to put themselves through college, who like me, wait tables to support their art, who bartend cause it allows them to take a vacation without a college degree, who make your coffee and assist in getting your day going, who help cure your hangover, who listen you your stories, who tell you their own.  The list could go on and on. Women in service are special, and they stand apart from the rest of the job world. I know this from experience, the rewards of being a good server or bartender are many, and only a good one knows what they are. We all have our favorite bartenders, servers, and baristas. They make our coffee the best, our cocktails just the way we like them, and they have our food order memorized… Like I said, women in service are special.

In the end, my team and I are creating a PR event in the community that we shot the images.

This has been an excellent experience, in terms of marketing myself and my work, and everyone has been super great in allowing me to come into their establishments and shoot. Here is a sneak peak of what I’ve been up to this summer.

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The Nato Protests

The Front Line

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The NATO Protests.

It’s time to get the blog ball rolling again…

On May 21st, 2012 myself and a few friends headed to Chicago to document the NATO protests that were happening due to the NATO summit that occurred that same weekend. We missed out on most of the controversy that took place Saturday and Sunday, but we all came away with some great stuff. It was nice to be back on the streets of Chicago photographing people yearning for something different, people that are fed up with our current political and economic situation. Seeing people become so frustrated and pissed off that they become alive, this is the stuff I live for.

Over the course of the next several weeks, I’ll post one to two photos of my experience at the protests at a time, there are hundreds of images and to try to make a gallery of the images would take away from the unique emotion each one of them posses.

A Flag For Peace



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The El

The El.

What comes to mind when you hear that phrase? For people who live here in Chicago it means quite a lot. Most of my friends who live in the city rely on the el to get to and from work everyday.

It has it’s upsides; it’s quick, it comes every seven or so minutes, and its an excellent place to people watch (my personal favorite),  it can get you almost anywhere in the city, and sometimes you can even peek into the backyards you pass a long the way.

It also has its downsides; it smells kinda funny, its not a fun place to be when it’s crowded and you’re hungover or not hungover for that matter, sometimes you get a weirdo who will sit next to you, but luckily your stop is usually next, and sometimes its not, in which case you empathize with Elaine from Seinfeld quite a bit.

But over all, the el is one of my most favorite things about the city of Chicago. And as part of my Chicagoan project, I have decided to make a mini project inside Chicagoan and feature interesting people I meet on the el. That’s one thing that remains constant, there is always someone interesting no matter what neighborhood you’re in.

Little Girl on the Blue Line

Dose of Medicine or Dose of Fashion and Food?

As I continue on with my Chicagoan Series of the coolest, and perhaps slightly below-radar happenings, places, and publications; my timing could not be better in introducing, Dose Market.

Dose Market is a monthly food and fashion market located inside the River East Art Center in downtown Chicago. Every month, businesses are chosen with a selective eye to participate. Dose Market was founded by April Francis, a stylist who lives here in Chicago. Initially, the concept was strictly fashion, but then, by a  helpful suggestion from a few friends, food was quickly incorporated. April, along with her three co-founders launched Dose Market in June of last year, and by the looks of it, are having tremendous success.

I had the privilege of making it out to this month’s dose on March 11th, and I was blown away. All I kept thinking as I wandered the isles of this “farmers market” for fashion and food was; innovation. Every single vendor had a unique vision, and everything was present from handmade jewelry to refurbished stereo systems created out of vintage luggage, and beverages of all kinds, to breakfast and cheese. I had a chance to speak to several vendors that day, and everyone was open, and excited about their product. It made me happy to see people have a chance to come together, share their vision, and support local and independent business all at the same time. I’m so glad I got dosed!

Dose Market happens once a month at the River East Art Center Located at 435 East Illinois Street, Chicago Illinois. To be sure you get your dose of the next, Dose Market, visit

This months dosers’ include:

Plus many, many more…

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Whistler Style Chicago

So you know how a few weeks ago I gave tribute to Chicago, I paid special attention to the Chicago Reader, well today I am honoring the Whistler.

Tucked somewhat like a speakeasy just north of Fullerton on Milwaukee is the Whistler. I would not doubt that most of its patronage is solely thanks to word of mouth, if you didn’t know it was there, you would miss it. There is no sign of any kind, no neon, nothing painted, except of course the tiny white letters barely visible on the glass, front door.

Once you walk in, there are tables lining the wall to your right, and just behind you to your left, is a stage completely enclosed with no view of the street outside. The lighting is of a bluish red and resembles something out of a David Lynch film. The bar is kitty corner to the front door. The Whistler has some sort of musical entertainment every night of the week, and offers a plethora of genres, but what most people come the the Whistler for, are the cocktails. Old fashioned cocktails, that are made only by one man, and with ingredients so precise he uses a jigger, and tastes every one before its delivery, and if its not just right, he starts all over again. And these old-time concoctions are always changing.

Some popular ingredients used at the Whistler are green chartreuse, mezcal, angostura (which is in the bitters family), egg white, honey, jalapeño, cilantro, habanero, along with all the gins, brandies, bourbons, vodkas, tequilas, whiskeys and so on.

The Whistler is a real treat, it is nice to go and have a real cocktail, something you don’t have everyday and any given bar in town, and be able to say with dignity, that they just don’t make them like they used to.

You can visit the Whistler at, feel free to subscribe to their blog as well.

Holy Shit… Its Been Awhile

Okay, I am officially a bad blogger. Hmmm… I’ll work on that.

So, a ton of stuff has happened since my last post. Probably the most important thing being my birthday. I am now 28, and I feel kinda old. However, it was a lovely celebration. Roger and I ate at my favorite restaurant, The Chicago Diner, where we ran into my friend Miles. That was cool. We saw a mediocre foreign film at the Music Box, and night capped it all off with Amy at Shannon’s in Glen Ellyn. All in all it was a good day. Then, on Tuesday of this week, my birthday part two, I got to eat at the Chicago Diner again! What a treat that was. Amy and I knocked around Milwaukee Ave.for a lil bit, attempting to complete some photojournalism stuff, which we successfully failed in accomplishing… However, I was somehow able to restrain my need to buy everything I saw at Crossroads Trading Co. Coats, shoes, faux fur vests, the list goes on…

Okay, so what I am about to tell you may or may not seem completely ridiculous, but Ames and I drove to and from the city twice on Tuesday (whatever, its my birthday, and I can do what I want). We both have our Alternative Photographic Process class on Tuesday and Thursday nights, so we had no choice but to go back to the burbs after we had spent all day in the city. But it was well worth it, cause we got to make more Cyanotypes (I do plan on scanning some of those for your digital viewing pleasure.) And, since my girl is such a trooper, I had convinced her to go to Kingston Mines, the “legendary ” blues bar of Chicago. Okay, I’m going to say this one time. I have never been to this place, and under no circumstance do I think I will ever return. Maybe I’m missing something, but it really was not for me. It was a lot of 40-year-old penises… If that somehow gives you an idea of our experience. And if you know Amy and I… Um… No.

Needless to say, we did not stay long at all. We headed to some place much more our taste, The Whistler. Which didn’t cost us a penny (Kingston Mines cost us each 12 bucks, did I mention that?) They have good drinks, and good music. Tuesday they had a really good jazz band. The people there are always cool, and I can’t think of any other place where a girl can get a drink where an egg white is part of the ingredients.

The best part of the whole night is, we ended the night at The Golden Apple for some late night french toast (best french toast in the greater chicago land area). If you have not tried it, I strongly recommend it. Even Ira Glass knows how amazing The Golden Apple is, it was featured on an episode of This American Life.

Made it to bed around 5 am. So, I’m getting older, but I could not have asked for a better 48 hours to celebrate my birthday. Nor could I ask for better people to spend it with.