Tuesday, May 29

i'm deep in crazy time right now. on top of everything else my work laptop died last week, so i've been running back to the office to file everything. ugh, exhausting. i hand in my gear today, eat a final lunch with the boys, shoot two assignments and then i'm not the intern anymore. i still have a few stories to produce, umm, tonight i guess. it is a night shift technically.

i have a few days to shoe horn all this stuff into my car and head down to FL. i'm looking at all my stuff in various states of packing and trying to eyeball the square foot storage space of my trunk. i got rid of some stuff, but acquired other stuff. and there's a whole other person i have to fit in the car this time. hmmm.

it will all work out. and as soon as i can slow down a bit i'll post some shots from the final days at the DH. *tear

Tuesday, May 22

canoe marathon

sunday was cold and wet and busy. i had this rad assignment to cover the 50th annual canoe marathon. it had multimedia written all over it. i tried to get another shooter to take my 12pm so i could make something with a stronger narrative, less dependent on the "official" talking. alas, i had to bust it down the race route shooting along the way then sprint to schaumburg to shoot a cycling tour in the cold pouring rain. then haul it back to the finish line to get "the end" then race up to lake zurich for a graduation.

the canoe marathon was aptly named for me too. haha. so this is what i could piece together with less than ideal time spent.

i'm new to this whole video compression thing. these shots are suffering sharpness, i'm not sure how to rectify that. if you use the minimize window feature on the direct feed at youtube it looks normal again. now to get that to display with this remote feed...hmm...

making these audio slideshows is a satisfying learning experience. every time i do it i think of other ways i could tell the story, other visual pieces to gather, audio bits that would have made it better. the same way it felt to see all the erasure marks underneath that perfectly written essay...these are leading to better and better stories.

Thursday, May 17

my days over the past few weeks have been split between sports in the glorious sunshine and courtroom stalker duty. i know someone has to do it. blah, blah, blah. doesn't mean i have to like it. every short trip down there ("it will just take an hour, i promise") turns into a half a day's saga at least. my other assignments are farmed off and i'm left with hours of anticipation for 30 seconds worth of rapid fire shutter that makes me feel more like part of the problem than part of the solution.

i'm cherishing every bit of community journalism that comes my way these days.

a portrait for the newspaper's all-academic team. i wish i had piped up about making this a more cohesive series instead of the haphazard hodge-podge it has become. a few kids are farmed out to each shooter who makes either a formal portrait, or environmental thing, or candid thing. everyone's using different lens choices, has differing amounts of time to spend, so they look all over the map. this girl was a standout in her school's theater program. i brought lights but the stage lighting was drowning it out, so i decided to work with what was there. pretty straight forward i guess.

i wanted to make a studio standard prop, like a desk and have each of the kids bring props signifying their hobbies or specialties, the reasons they made the academic team. the desk would stay the same but their personalities and talents would make each picture different. oh well, maybe for the next paper i work for?

this game was played in between down pours. sadly there were no mud puddles.
keeping the ball in play.

i was on the wrong side of the gatorade for this one, but i couldn't help liking it. the ball is so perfectly falling between the two. just another reason i need to shoot from third base more often.

hit by a pitch.

i went to what is probably my last pro-baseball game for this internship. the sox were annihilated 11-1 on mother's day.

Wednesday, May 16

chicago day trip

i abandoned work last thursday to see the cezanne - picasso show at the art institute. i had procrastinated until the last possible moment to see it. i am shocked it is mid-may.

i went downtown early to beat traffic and had a few hours to kill before the museum's free hours kicked in. hot town, summer in the city. the fountain in millenium park was a nice break from scorched sidewalks.

it's hard to make a bad photo of the bean. shiny reflective surface, odd shapes, endless lines of people completely unaware of others as they stand in awe of the thing, and i see something new every time.

once i forgive myself for taking pictures of something so photographed (so "done" already), i just get lost in it and have fun. somehow i think this is what it feels like to paint, responding to form and moment in a half-imaginary way.

the exhibit was beautiful and packed with people.

underneath this portrait of vollard by cezanne there was a quote from the artist, "I am not dissatisfied with the shirt front.” i almost laughed out loud. i've had similar thoughts about every image i make. not that i'm anywhere close to cezanne's mastery, but it's good to know even the masters struggle with perfection. it was a pretty exquisite shirt front, by the way. hard to tell in this small image but it has a cyan opalescence to it. see it in person if you can.

i remembered a lot about the artists, tidbits about their lives, and the ideas that inspired great works.
i had an amazing teacher for art history in high school. thank you janet russell. i don't remember a lick of calculus but some of the pieces we studied have become companions in life in a way. i run into them in strange places, in different times in my life. i find new things in them, new resonances, each time, but they also take me back to the other times i saw them, the first time i saw them.

the galleries were hot and packed but for the most part silent. it's amazing how quiet a few hundred people can be.
a few cell phones pierced the hush drawing groans and dirty looks.

most people were taking the audio tour. somehow having a black headset on makes you oblivious to others and excused for trespasses against social graces. no apologies for stepped on feet or walking right in front of you. i'm in an alternate world because i'm listening!

the best example of this was an old man moving slowly across the floor with a cane in hand and headset blasting. with each step he let out loud farts, each one with it's own extended gassy coda. for those too cheap to buy the audio tour, myself and other hipster-student types, it was like a car-wreck in the gallery, a really funny, yet totally embarrassing car-wreck. we all watched the guy walk to the other room, unable to stop staring, sure that at any moment he would realize, or other people would realize, or there would be some recognition of this amazing display of flatulence. but there was nothing. the audio headset crowd just moved along in his farty wake.

the rest of us waited for the air to clear, tried not to laugh, and then followed.

there was more to the show. more than i can write about. scenes of paris and being moved to tears. thankful for the same anonymity afforded the farting guy. the space to feel in a crowded public place without needing to flee.

Wednesday, May 9

a busy week with a swollen face. i can open my mouth about an inch right now. i've found a new appreciation for quesadillas, soup, and finely cut corn dogs.

got the dredded "village board meeting" assignment. these brownie scouts made the night. eight-year-olds are too wiggly to not have some shenanigans. sure beats a vote on a new ordinance.

i'm tired of the no-strobe rule with the IHSA. this is 1600iso on a D2h which is more commonly known as granola-grain. i had to post a photo from this though. i played volleyball for seven years, a setter for most of them. as i watched these guys warm up at the net i got goosebumps every time there was a nice set with soft hands that hovered perfectly off the net, or when a body became perfectly aligned with forward motion and full-range swing for an awesome kill. my body still remembers what that can feel like.

i had to stalk motorola stockholders, carl icahn, and ed zander as they met for the annual stockholders meeting. i've seen jesse jackson show up to some weird things, but i would've never expected him here. the rainbow coalition is a stockholder. who knew?

this was a "living rosary" service where 60 people each represented a bead on a rosary and lit candles, one by one, as they recited the appropriate prayer.

and then cinco de mayo. i ran into that dance troupe i photographed a few months back at a local fiesta in the park. still very fun to shoot. and i wasn't surprised when they ran everything in b&w. it just seems to be the aesthetic of the DH.

Saturday, May 5

bah. designers.

ok i know it's a cliche photo, but don't crop from the bottom on this one. gah. that rug really tied the room together, dude.

the school of rock thing ran in the entertainment weekly we put out. getting the cover is nice, but spidey is moving in on my "available space" as kobre likes to call it.

so you'll recall the portrait on the left is mine. my co-worker had to shoot the other kid while i was at poyi. not quite the tight counter-part i had in mind, but whatevs. it was out of my hands. they cropped the bejesus out of these frames. this publication is so tight sometimes it makes me want to scream. it's the page equivalent of having televisions in check-out lines. how about some space and quiet every now and again?

i've been mining the poynter site for previous years' stories. i'm usually impressed with the page design of most everything they make. without ads the page design really sings and gives the images room to breathe. i'm starting to get pumped. i wish we had longer than 6-weeks but i think they will be crammed full of good things.

Thursday, May 3

i spent the day exploring the university of illinois' dental clinic. a wisdom tooth that's been growing the past few months finally decided to start hurting. i was hoping extraction wouldn't be necessary - that there would be some miracle salve with dentist's direction that could justify my continued procrastination. alas. i could feel my face becoming infected. no es bueno.

i was up at 5am to be in chicago by 6:30 to be on the list of patients by 7 because they only take 20 a day. i brought along a book i randomly bought yesterday on a long forgotten recommendation. it was my serendipitous companion on this journey and i finished it by the time the anesthesia wore off.

the time traveler's wife is about a relationship where one partner has chrono-disorder, a condition that causes his to bounce back and forth through his lifetime. it's not the cheese-ball "waking up in the revolutionary war" time-travel novel. it hit me in the gut as i read the opening lines this morning - sitting in a cold reception hall at uic before the staff has arrived. a dozen people wait silently in pain, clutching public aid cards and sleepy-eyed children staring at the gate which won't open for another hour.

the relationship is infused with waiting and longing and the certainty of the uncertain, all of which i can relate to in this strange period of my life/career. in that transient place of the uic dental facility, a strange pocket of humanity that i will hopefully only visit once in my life, this story was perfectly in place. it's also set in chicago, another random unknown until i started reading. that gave it this just-outside-my-window sort of magic. i half expected to see henry walk through the waiting area stark naked. just read the book, ok?

at midday i was scheduled for extraction and told to be back in two hours. i wandered taylor street in the bright sun of a beautiful chicago afternoon. i read and few more chapters and wandered back in that book daze. i was just at the part where henry goes under the knife in the novel when i was finally called in to get extracted.

on the way home i remembered the anti-biotics my mother sent me weeks ago for a sinus infection that now i didn't have to pay for. that annoying detour on 294 i've hated for weeks, which adds 4 miles onto my trip home, now took me right by a pharmacy to get pain killers right as the anesthesia wore off. just as it should be.

in the waining light, i finished the last pages of a surreal day that gave words to my inner mumblings about time-place-love-want and left a new hole in my head that i only paid a couple hundred for.

it was a great day.

Wednesday, May 2

refreshed from a trip to SF for the POYi awards. i was inspired by the saturated moments of alex webb and the stunning reflection of a mother's pain by renee byer.

the presentation of cpoy matt eich was also fantastic because he lets us into his inner world. he speaks from a place of openness about the craft and what role it plays in his life. so many award winners talk about technique, an anecdote behind a photo, or when it was they decided to become a war photographer, but they don't communicate any self-revelation, no added value to what i can see on their website or from reading their bio. it takes a lot of effort to compress what you want to say about your work and even more care to make it something meaningful. eich made the effort with care. thanks, matt.

i ran into more people i knew at poyi than i reckoned but got a ton of hugs. i had to encapsulate my experience in IL to dozens of people in one sentence. the consensus statement (after several re-tellings) was: it's a good internship for those who are very self-directed. until i came to this newspaper i didn't know how much i was seeking an editor who will really push me. not the best, certainly not the worst and i love shooting at wrigley.

now onto some snappies....

i had to wait out a track meet for a soccer game. i laid out in the sun and shot through the extra hurdles for a relay.

ah, so many visual cliches. i hear this is running huge in the neighbor section. cliches are big with editors apparently.

spent a record 12-hour day sitting in various court houses waiting to throw frames at passing person's on interest. one of my editors thought it would be a good learning experience. well, it's not. haha. after 10 hours and 55 minutes of waiting at court house #2 i find out the guy i've been waiting on isn't even in the building. sigh.

horrendous chef fest where i had to shoot 12 mugs to go with a chef-on-the-street q&a. during a cooking demo the big mirror gave me a few minutes of creative outlet.

o'hare international, 4am

and because she gets cuter every time i see her, my niece. she's playing with a mosque alarm clock that sounds a call to prayer when it goes off. we heard it play a hundred times before it got old.