Archive for April, 2007

Models are here


The online slide show for the Dominican Fashion Show “Framed” from 2007 is finally up here. Check it out.

Killing Time

Models curling their hair and killing time before the next part of the beautification process.
Karolina Cabaj reads while Ashley Rounds curls.

Goodbye to the Models

Mike Shallow (gotta love that name, just screams star potential) checking
out his garment “Formal Woodsman” in the mirror during the final fitting.

*Update – The online slide show is here.

The Dominican Fashion Show 06 piece got published. It’s not what I would have liked, but it never is.

Over the couple of weeks of my time I spent on the piece I met a couple of really cool students, some nice models and saw some pretty hard work being done. The show consisted of over a 120 outfits on a multitude of models in multiple collections.

More interesting to me watching how many hours went into getting the whole show done. I’m sure there was a lot I didn’t see, in fact I know there was, but even what I did get to see I didn’t expect going in.

Hours for the final fitting, and last minute adjustments made to get the outfits to their final state and work with the particular models.

Hours more with the models wearing the outfits again so the professional panel could review and critique the outfits. I’m guessing the designers were around these outfits literally every day for the two weeks I was around and from what our story says for months before hand.

And then, and this I think is more shocking for a guy, the hours of hair and make-up before each show. There are many reasons I love being guy, one of these is certainly that should I want to do my hair up nice and fancy it adds an extra 30 seconds to my day, not 30 minutes.

Having said that, the show looked gorgeous. Beautiful outfits, beautiful women and decent lighting makes for an easy shot for me. I need more of these.

As stories go, this certainly wasn’t the deepest one, it was after all all about looks. Though that can be kind of fun on occasion.

(middle image) Zorana Duran in “Blue Caribbean” by Rose Turner
(above) Sondra Ellingson curls her hair 2 hours before the show on Sunday.
The room was packed full of models getting hair and make-up done
and the women who were helping them out.


Max Zavell of the Kids All-American Fishing Team.

A New Edition

Meet Luke Bowker.
First son of two old friends of mine. Happily asleep in his mother’s arm,
and she was getting some well earned sleep also, having given birth the day before.

Election Night in Chicago

Former Alderman Wallace with Alderman-elect Fioretti

Vote early, vote often. A great saying, made in Chicago because that’s what used to happen. Even in my suburb of Forest Park the election judges, jokingly mind you, asked me if I wanted the ballot of a dead person along with my own. Classic Chicago humor.

So near the end of my very long day, I had been covering election related events since 7am, I was trying to take photos of a new alderman-elect. I showed up at his party as he was walking out the door, literally. I asked him, Bob Fioretti, where he was off to next, he told me “Wallace’s” a retraunat on Madison and California. A bit out of our coverage area, but it’s what I got to work with, so I work with it.

Turns out Wallace’s is a real hoot. I love anyplace where people are genuinely happy and having fun. So I’m watching the band play, the Alderman-elect is having fun, being forced to sing and dance a little, but generally enjoying the moment. Eventually he gets pulled into watching the guitar player play the guitar with his tongue (and the song was even played pretty well still). How can you pass that up?

So I get a photo of Wallace, former Alderman Wallace actually, behind Fioretti watching the guitar player and the singer play the guitar with there tongues. Okay, pretty weird to start with. Now, go back to the office and find out that former Alderman Wallace, is actually disgraced former Alderman Wallace, something to do with corruption charges I think.

So now the picture is of two people playing guitar with their tongues, the Alderman-elect watching with the disgraced former Alderman behind him. That’s Chicago.

Easter Socks

My grandfather on my mom’s side on Easter Sunday. He’s got the most kickin’ socks.

Graffiti as fine art


Acid Etching, never heard of it before myself, but apparently it’s fairly common. Actually I’ve seen it plenty of times before, just never knew it had a name, I just thought of it as crappy graffiti.

Acid etching is a method to put a gang mark onto a pane of glass, typically from what I saw on businesses. I could never tell what any of the 5 examples that I found actually said, I could just tell that those businesses were marked.

Christa, left the etching on her windows. It appeared about a month after she opened. She’s left it there for a year and has never been marked again. It seems that as long as the business is marked it’s left alone, which is good.

On the other hand the acid etching just never had enough content or shape to really look like anything or be visually interesting though. It was just there looking like vandalism. On the other hand old school graffiti. Spray paint on a solid surface, that can just look sweet.

If I owned a building I would probably find a good graffiti artist to decorate the outside of my building. Graffiti artists are can be great artists. I wish there was more of it around. And if the business is really that against spray paint graffiti they can just have it sand blasted off.

Maybe it’s just me.

Making Myself Laugh


My impression of the world has always left me with the feeling that people think a joke is only worth while if the listener laughs. Personally, whatever you want to believe.

I know the jokes I like, and they’re the same if you tell them or if I tell them. Those are the jokes that make me laugh.

So most of my jokes are focused on making me laugh, and if you laugh also, great. If you don’t, bummer…for you.

This image was made during a judging of the pieces for the upcoming Dominican Fashion show. I had spent some time shooting in the judging room. The models would come in, walk to one end of the room, then back to the other, do a little twirl and then approach the judges that asked for a closer look.

It was interesting and somewhat depressing to watch. Beautiful young women, but yet almost no personality behind the walk. Admitadedly that’s unfair, and probably inaccurate, but from where I was the ladies weren’t much more than dolls with new clothes. Yet these “dolls”, I know, are well educated and becoming more so every day and probably have sparkling personalities. It’s just a bummer to me when that isn’t shown more in any person.

I know it’s just this situation, but I just always like it when a persons personality can shine through. Call me cheesy, it’s fair at this point.

Anyhow, after watching them show outfits for a while I wanted to get a shot of the line at the door waiting to go in. While watching that I noticed one of the models kept looking back at the vending machines. It’s a stereotype, and it’s unfair also. I guess you can also call me a hypocrite.

I couldn’t help but take the photo though. It brought a good laugh to me. Maybe it’s just me, but again, that’s enough for me.

Passion for passion


It’s been a few years since I’ve covered the Passion March in Pilsen. Every year that I’ve covered it previously it’s been a circus of photographers. It is still.

Besides every TV station in town sending a crew, you get every newspaper that can justify sending a photographer sending one, plus every college photojournalism class in 10 miles sending half of their photographers. This means you get about 30 photographers of all stripes.

I have no love for photo scrums. They’re not fun. They involve photographers climbing over each like a pack over a downed buffalo. They generally make the media look bad, if you ask me. And you get a few people not following the rules, which I think makes the lot of us look bad.

That’s what can really bother me. I don’t mind when photographers climb over each other so much at political events. That’s just the way it’s supposed to be, but at spirtual events it just doesn’t feel right. We all got jobs to do, but at some point you also just need to be respectful of others and the community.

At the Passion March the organizers ask the press to be out of the ring of the participants at a certain point. As is a habit of the press, they stayed till that point, and then beyond. I’ve got no problem pushing limits when necessary. I just don’t feel this is a situation where that behavior is appropriate.

Ultimately members of the press must weigh the needs of their jobs, the needs of informing the community, but they also must weigh the needs of respecting those participating. This, to me, is especially true when people are practicing their faith. While for me, and the other photographers, this may be another assignment we have to do, for the people participating, this is a religious observation. At some point I just think there is a way to be respectful of people practicing their religious beliefs while also creating the necessary images.

As a further example, and on a humorous note, every Chicagoland photographer has a picture of the Passion March from the El tracks over 18th street. We all shot from there at one point or another. I was coming down from the tracks, and chit chatting with another photographer. As we reentered the mass of people following the march he got ready to start darting ahead. As he was leaving he said to me, “I’ll see you at the hanging.” Now it’s normal enough to say something similar to that, but he could both find a better way to phrase, any other way to phrase it, and know what the proper terminology is. Hanging is just, wrong.

There are many fine members of the press, as with all professions, there are less skilled members, and we all have days where we just say the wrong thing. Still it deflates a person a little.



The Passion March, or Stations of the Cross in Pilsen, is a re-enactment of Jesus’s final days. A lot of places around Chicago do a Stations of the Cross ceremony. The Pilsen community is the only one I’ve seen that has a man carrying what looks to be a very heavy cross over a mile.

This year there were probably 5000 people in attendance, and it got up to almost 30 degrees. It’s always impressive to see people display, viscerally display their faith. It doesn’t matter much to me what faith people have, but that they believe in something, anything, that gives them an inner strength is a good thing.

Maybe for the man carrying the cross 30 degrees was a good thing. On the other hand when they put him on the cross at the end, dressed appropriately for the period, meaning shirtless, I’m guessing thirty degrees wasn’t so comfortable.

Fashion Fitting

Abby Zupancic checks how the dress she designed fits
model Darci DiBuono during the final fitting

These are a few of the starting images from a story on a fashion show at Dominican University.

The show is an annual affair. The usual fair, student designers and student models put on two shows on the weekend of April 14th and 15th. There might be an interesting twist, but we’ll see if it develops. In the meantime I’ll be focusing on the seniors, the process, and the finishing phases of getting the show together before photographing the show itself.

The original request was for photos of the show, but why do that when I can get a little more involved and get some more interesting photos?

These images were from the final fitting. The designers had to put their outfits on the models that are going to wear them during the show and have them approved by faculty in charge of the show. She was offering recommendations for small changes while I was there, but everyone seemed scared enough of the process that I’m sure there were some major changes being made as well.

Julie Binggeli fits a part of her senior collection made from recycled sporting goods.

This shoot also presented what may be the most difficult part of the process. In any story the first shoot is always a little tougher because everyone has to get comfortable with each other and learn what to expect from each other. In this case this had to be done in a room full of women who were often changing. I have to say, the models did a good job of ignoring me, and I did what I had to do, be professional, and ignore them and take pictures of the work. Hopefully this boads well.

Next time for shooting is hopefully the designers tired and working on finishing up the last of their outfits.

Doggy Dining

Megan Davey with her 8 week old pup Munch at Potbelly for lunch

Apparently in Chicago it is against health code to take your dog to dinner with you at an outdoor cafe. Chicago is a big dog town. Cat ownership just isn’t zoned for the city anymore, all of Chicago is zoned for dogs. (Yeah, I’m a cat person.)

Of course in such a dog heavy city people will be allowed to legally take their dogs to dinner with them. At least for the outdoor patios. So a reporter and myself went to find some outdoor diners.

We got to our second restaurant when we met Megan and Munch. An 8 week old pup pretty much seals the deal photographically. Especially if he’s named Munch and keeps chewing on her hand.

Good Music


Went to another another Pat McCurdy show.

Pat shows, or at least the two I’ve been to, are a good time.

A mix of song and humor. A small club environment. (I’m not a fan of large gatherings. They lack intimacy.)

Fans hanging out chit chating with each other. Fans chit chating with the the sound guy (Jim?) and Pat.

It was also a good chance to hang out with an old friend of mine, Adrienne. She usually has something going on, and who doesn’t enjoy catching up on a friends dirt? Well, not really dirt, but it’s more fun when you make it dirt with a little exaggeration and hyperbole.