May 2, 2009 marked the first anniversary of my relocation to Chicago, which has led me to reflect just a bit.....
The past year has been somewhat tumultuous for many photographers, particularly so for me. In addition to a sagging economy, which is the bane of most of our existences, I rather abruptly undertook a move half-way across the country, leaving my business comfort zone behind. I took all the pieces and threw them up in the air, let them land where they may, picked them up and rearranged them. Are you shaking your head? Well, so am I (and I can hear the rocks!).
The New York City area is a target-rich environment for photographers and I'd built a reasonably good business there over twenty-plus years. Parachuting into Chicago on relatively short notice left me scrambling to do my reconnaissance as I hit the ground, rather than in advance as is more usual. Chicago is also a target-rich environment for photographers, but my targets are still largely unidentified. Nevertheless, I've managed to make some headway and have turned-in a few good projects.
After a slow start last summer and a stock market crash in September, the past six months have been somewhat rewarding. In addition to my stock photography projects, always ongoing, some interesting commissioned work and a personal project have borne fruit and I'm feeling satisfied, although in limited measure.
Perhaps the most interesting job was the one I initially misconstrued... an annual report for the Chicago YWCA. For some reason I saw, in my imagination, gymnasiums and exercise machines. The YWCA is, in reality, a comprehensive social services organization. I didn't see a gym anywhere.
Also fascinating, and I've written about this before, is a personal project photographing paroled C-Number
inmates. It began as a personal project, caught the eye of an attorney working on prisoner's issues, and was recently published as a twenty four page book which was intended to influence members of, and likely appointees to, the parole and prison review boards. I've had some really wonderful compliments from everyone involved as well as recipients of the books. That work will continue, the book will be expanded and I'll likely publish my own version sometime later this year.
Another project, a brochure for the Openlands Foundation, led me to discover many spots in northern Illinois which have been preserved for purposes of wildlife conservation, land preservation and recreation. A very interesting journey of discovery for a new guy in these parts.
I was, at the outset, skeptical of how this move would work-out. I have to admit to being pleasantly surprised, and I'm looking forward to my second year in Chicagoland.
Tree: Canon EOS-5D, 50/2.5 Canon EF Macro Lens, ISO 100
Egret: Canon EOS-5D, 70~200/2.8 Canon Zoom Lens EF L Ultrasonic & EF2X, ISO 100
Y Staffer: Canon EOS-5D, 70~200/2.8 Canon Zoom Lens EF L Ultrasonic, ISO 100
Ra Chaka: Canon EOS-5D, 70~200/2.8 Canon Zoom Lens EF L Ultrasonic, ISO 100
Y Social Worker: Canon EOS-5D, 70~200/2.8 Canon Zoom Lens EF L Ultrasonic, ISO 100