Intercontinental Hotel - Magnificent Mile Chicago

I had a wonderful opportunity to work with the Intercontinental Hotel located on the Magnificent Mile in downtown Chicago.  I was initially asked to capture images of the meeting and event spaces throughout the hotel.  This evolved into shooting Executive Chef Randy Reed's menu and head shots of some executive team members.

This hotel is beautiful!  It was built in 1929, the original pool is still intact and the ballroom is absolutely stunning!  If you have a chance to check it out, it is a must see!  

Welcome back!

It has been quite some time since my last post.  Many projects have passed and I have decided to make my best attempt at releasing current content as I am working on more and more projects.  I am going through a transitional period in my career that I am very excited and completely terrified about!  I forget who said it, probably Gary V, but "If it doesn't scare you, your goal isn't set high enough." (There will also be a separate blog post on this transitional period because I have found it fascinating)

While new work is being edited and further developed, I will be posting some previous projects for your viewing pleasure. 

This first post is a project I did with The Geldner Center.  This is a plastic surgery and aesthetic service center located in downtown Chicago and headed by Dr. Peter D. Geldner.  A great friend of mine, Dan Cavanaugh, is in charge of operations and commissioned me to take some portraits of their team.  They were so easy and fun to work with, I wish every project would feel this effortless!  Here are some of the results. (You may recognize a handsome gentleman in the last image.  No he does not work at the Geldner Center, but he makes a great test subject!) 

This is my beautiful mother

This is my mother.  She is one of the most beautiful people in the entire world.  She is also one of the largest reasons I am standing behind the camera today.  Her love and support has allowed me to follow my dreams.  

I want to share a story.  When I was almost finished at the community college I was attending, my father introduced me to my first camera.  I fell in love .  After a couple of classes I had decided I was going to transfer to Columbia College Chicago and pursue a degree in photography.  My father and I traveled there to speak with a counselor to gather more details about the program.  Little did I know, this counselor would have a larger influence on my education than I could have ever imagined.   

I was so excited to be inside Columbia.  I thought to myself "I am finally going to start a path in life that has a purpose."  We proceeded to talk about things like my education, the history of the school, how exciting the area is, etc.  Everything was going according to plan, until he realized I was there to inquire about the photography program.  

He said that the program was alright, but it was a bit dated. That may have been true at the time, but it would not have changed my decision to attend the school.  What really caught my attention was his next statement.  "Are you sure you want to major in photography?  That means you would be taking the chance of living in your parents basement when you're thirty because you're not making any money?"  At that moment my heart sank. I didn't know much about the industry, but I knew I didn't want to spend a bunch of money just to be broke in ten years.  Throughout the rest of our conversation he continued to bash the industry,  and my father and I left with our tail between our legs.  I decided I would find another path in education. 

I struggled staying focused in school because I couldn't find anything I was as passionate about.  I dropped out, went back, dropped out, and went back.  It was a frustrating and boring time, but I was too scared to put faith back into pursuing photography.  However, it was my mother who gave me the confidence to do so.  Fast forward ten years, three colleges, and two majors later, I found myself back at Columbia.  Only this time I skipped the counselors visit and went straight to orientation.    

My mother believed I could never be happy without photography.  She believed I made the wrong decision by listening to that counselor.  She also believed that I could achieve anything, and not to listen to what other people are telling me what I won't be able to do.  This photo shoot is a thank you to my mother.  I wanted to show her in the most beautiful light possible, because she is the most beautiful mother I know.  I wanted to give her an insight into what I do because she played a large role in helping create it.  Thank you Mama, I love and appreciate everything about you.  

Jay Barz

This is my friend Jay.  He is an amazing artist, musician, aspiring actor and model, and new father to the beautiful Olivia.  We have worked together on numerous occasions and every project seems to turn out better than the last.  I am posting some images from our newest project here so our friends and family have a chance to view and enjoy.   

Jorie Livingston

Jorie is a dear friend of mine that I have known my entire life.  She has always been in great shape and recently asked if I would be interested in doing a fitness photoshoot for her.  I happily obliged.

Before the shoot day we went over some sample images to determine a game plan and get a feel for how we wanted the final images to look.  With both of us on the same page, I went ahead and planned the lighting for our shoot.  I was aiming to create a look with a soft feel, but had enough edge to contour and define the muscles.  

Once we got into the studio everything went seamlessly smooth.  Hair and makeup did a great job and all of the lighting setups went according to plan.  We started shooting using daylight then moved on to strobes.  We were getting such great images that we started improvising and ended up lying on the floor shooting underneath big white V-flats that were set on top of apple boxes to bounce the window light back at her.  It was a great experience, the images turned out fantastic, and I am super happy that she is ecstatic with the final result.  Thank you for such a great shoot Jorie!    

JT (Jonathan Terry) UFC Project

As of recent my friends and I have joined the UFC Gym here in Lakeview, Chicago.  The workouts are intense, the sweat is uncontrollable, but more importantly the trainers are incredible.  I have never been around such a great group of individuals that have the ability to turn clients into friends, and help push them to a physical and mental state previously unimaginable. 

I am in the process of diversifying my portfolio and wanted to start shooting things I am passionate about.  I have played sports and been athletic for most of my life, so I asked my trainer (former Taekwondo Junior Olympian) JT if he would be willing to be a part of a sports and fitness project.

 JT is preparing for a Muay Thai fight at the end of the month, so I sat in on one of his morning sparring sessions.  As you can see, this man is a beast and Im scared for whoever has to step in the ring with him.  Good luck to you my friend, I know you're going to do great.

Here are a couple of images from the project thus far.   I am super excited about how they have turned out and cannot wait to continue on with it.    

I also wanted to say a huge thank you to JT, Robbie Cole, and Norman LeFlore for being such amazing individuals and inspiring me to start a new journey in my personal life and in my career.  I think I can speak for all of us at the gym when I say your drive, your time, and your dedication are more than appreciated.             

Courtnei Johnson

My friend Courtnei Johnson recently joined me in the studio for a photoshoot to develop her modeling portfolio.  After a long awaited plan of getting together we finally produced some great images that I could not be more excited about.  We were also joined by make-up artist Angelyn Moye who did an amazing job!  As you can Courtnei looks absolutely beautiful!  She is such a joy to be around and she makes everyone in the room smile.  She deserves nothing but the best in her future endeavors. 

Derrick Grey

Derrick Grey is starting his modeling career and contacted me to help him put together a portfolio.  I could not have asked for a better, kinder, and more excited subject to photograph.  We had an amazing couple of hours together working out our favorite looks and experimenting with new outfits, and this is just a small portion of what we were able to accomplish.  I am so super happy for Derrick, he is great and is going to kill the fashion scene.  I could not be more thrilled about our final product.  

NATUREAL Presents @ Jerry's Wicker Park

NATUREAL created an event at Jerry's in Wicker Park last month featuring a ton of talent from the Chicago music scene.  Artists like KC Jones, DJ Earn Money, Brittany Nacole, Angel Davenport, Ryan Mac, Tony Cartel, and Natureal lit up the stage.  The event was hosted by Stan "The Viewers Choice" Morrow and organized by my boy Larke.  Natureal is creating many more of these events within the next couple months, stay tuned for dates and times.

For more info on these artists:

@Tony_Cartel    @KCJonesLive    @ Brittany_Nacole    @AngelDavanport 

@Beyond_Ryan    @DjEarnMoney    @NaturealMusic

 

Midland Paper, Packaging + Supplies

I was recently given the opportunity to be the photographer for Midland Paper, Packaging and Supplies, one of the largest independently-owned fine paper and packaging distributors in the U.S.  

Carter Jons and his team were in charge of developing a new website, and I could not have been more excited to be a part of this project.  Now that the website has recently launched, I wanted to thank Carter and express how wonderful he and his company were to work with.  I could not have asked for a better experience.  

Please check out there fantastic new website at midlandpaper.com

Here are a couple of images from my personal collection that I wanted to share with everyone.    

Matt and Bethany

I had the pleasure of getting two good friends of mine into the studio this week:  Matt Collins and Bethany Arrington.  We froze our butts off, practiced our accents, shared drinking stories gone wrong, and had some great laughs.  I want to congratulate them both for getting signed to Gill Hayes Talent, a new agency here in Chicago. I hope nothing but the best is in store for you both.       

Mark "Baby" Kiley

Baby Kiley is such a trooper.  I noticed one day that his mustache was filling in.  I decided to gently persuade (actually beg) him to grow it out through "No Shave November" and we can do a photo shoot at the end.  Two months later with Kiley practically chewing on his mustache, I finally got a free day to set up a shoot.  I had such a great time photographing and chatting while walking to numerous Downtown Chicago locations.  I could not have photographed a more genuine subject as Kiley's smile or laugh poked into the end of just about every shot.  I had blast and cannot thank Baby Kiley enough for holding out another month with the mustache.   

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Olivia Talyor Webb

I am beyond excited to announce I have a healthy and adorable new niece Olivia Taylor Webb!  Congratulations to Cortney and Dub I could not be happier to see the smiles she brings to your faces.