Invasion of the Trolls

Invasion of the Trolls

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One of my favorite clients is the Morton Arboretum, who I've been shooting for for about the last ten years. One of the cool things about the Arboretum is the yearly installation exhibits they've been doing. I've shot Steel Roots (steel piping twisted into the shape of tree roots), Legos, metal frogs, even large scale origami art, but I think this year's takes the prize for the coolest. For the last couple months, artist Thomas Dambo from Denmark and his team have been constructing gigantic trolls from reclaimed wood, and placed them in fields, in the woods, overlooking the highway and elsewhere.

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I spent a couple hours photographing the trolls under construction in late May. Now they're finished and I'm heading back this afternoon to photograph the 'official portraits' of the completed trolls, with people to show the scale of the giants. Should be fun.

The trolls are on display for the next 2-5 years, depending on how long they last in the Chicago weather. If you're in the area, go see them; you won't be disappointed.

When the President Comes to Town... and Needs a Photographer

When the President Comes to Town... and Needs a Photographer

 The Family Photo

The Family Photo

The Irish Consulate in Chicago called me, wanting to know if I’d be interested in photographing the president of Ireland, Michael Higgins, on his visit to the city. Without missing a beat, I said yes and got the details. A few weeks later, after being checked out by the Secret Service and Irish security, my son (in his first job as my assistant) and I found ourselves in the Drake Hotel, ready to photograph 300-500 guests, all eager to shake the president’s hand and have their picture taken with him.

 Setting up the family photo- President Higgins has many relatives living in the US.

Setting up the family photo- President Higgins has many relatives living in the US.

 Attorney General, Lisa Madigan (in blue dress), representing Chicago politics

Attorney General, Lisa Madigan (in blue dress), representing Chicago politics

 Secret Service not looking conspicuous at all. My son David is in the front, fitting in well.

Secret Service not looking conspicuous at all. My son David is in the front, fitting in well.

 I was told the woman on the left is one of Muhammad Ali’s daughters.

I was told the woman on the left is one of Muhammad Ali’s daughters.

 The late Cardinal Francis George stops by for a few laughs with the President.

The late Cardinal Francis George stops by for a few laughs with the President.

 Everyone got a picture with the president

Everyone got a picture with the president

 In the end, David and I got to pose with the President too. Photo by Shane O’Neill/ Fennell Photography (Dublin)

In the end, David and I got to pose with the President too. Photo by Shane O’Neill/ Fennell Photography (Dublin)

 I set up a website where everyone could download their pictures, as well as order prints.

I set up a website where everyone could download their pictures, as well as order prints.

Senior Communities

Senior Communities

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Last year, I photographed all eight senior communities for Franciscan Communities, from the northern suburbs of Chicago, to Lafayette, Indiana and all the way out to Cleveland, Ohio. The shooting took place over about a month.

I’ve photographed retirement communities several times in my career, and have always enjoyed the work. The residents are generally very relaxed and willing to be in pictures (usually… but not always!). It’s a different pace of life. We shot lots of different scenarios, from meal times (showing off the dining areas) to the residents’ apartments, going on walks, the gym, cinema and even residents hanging out in their new pub. The purpose of the pictures was to show the residents having a good time while showing off the amenities.

Best in Show, Two Years Running

Best in Show, Two Years Running

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Last summer I took part in my second Bar Harbor “Art in the Park” fine art photography show in Maine. This annual fair at the gateway to Acadia National Park is a showcase for painters and photographers to show and sell their art.

 The most popular print at the show- a 40×60″ metal print

The most popular print at the show- a 40×60″ metal print

I custom printed over forty-five large (16×20 to the large 40×60-inch metal print above) limited edition prints for the show, as well as over 120 open edition 8×10’s, my Acadia Centennial poster, and sold several copies of my book. It was my second time participating in the show, and the response to my work has been very gratifying. The icing on the cake came at the end of the show when I was surprised to learn my photography had been awarded “Best in Show” for the second year running. I’ll definitely be back this year to do it all again.

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 Along with wall prints, I sold several signed copies of my book,  Under October Skies , to fans of Acadia National Park.

Along with wall prints, I sold several signed copies of my book, Under October Skies, to fans of Acadia National Park.