Viewing entries tagged
chicago photographer

The Trolls, the Trolls

The Trolls, the Trolls

morton053118-185.jpg

Thomas Dambo is an internationally famous Danish artist who’s known for his large wooden trolls. In 2018, one of my regular clients, the Morton Arboretum, commissioned Dambo to build several of the trolls to place around the grounds. A team of several builders lead by Dambo built the trolls on site, then installed them after a couple months of labor. I was asked to shoot them three times– first as they were under construction, then after they were in place (using my thirteen year old daughter as a model), and finally with a group of kids and their moms from an agency as models.

Since they went up, the trolls have been the biggest thing the Arboretum has ever done, shared all over social media and bringing in tens of thousands of visitors and boosting membership in a big way.

The best part for me though, was when I found my daughter’s picture was being used on a brochure for the Arboretum. I brought it home and showed her and she got the biggest kick out of it. Serious dad points.

Gear | Canon 1DX Mark2, Canon 5D Mark 2, 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, 24-105mm f/4L USM, fill flash



St Patrick's Day with the Taoiseach

St Patrick's Day with the Taoiseach

stpatsday2012-131.jpg

One of the best things about my job is the variety of work. In my 25+ years of freelancing, I’ve shot almost everything you can think of, from presidents to worms (look for both in future posts!). I’ve been shooting for the British Consulate in Chicago since 2007. And they in turn have passed my name in to the Irish Consulate, who I’ve had the pleasure of working for since 2012. St Patrick’s Day is absolutely huge in Chicago every year– almost a million people crowd into the downtown to watch them dye the Chicago River green and see the parade.

My assignment for the consulate was to shoot the parade which would see the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland, Enda Kenney, walking at the head of the parade with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emannuel. I was to walk backwards at the head of the parade, photographing the dignitaries all the way down Columbus Drive. It was a surreal job, surrounded by dozens of Secret Service men, Chicago cops and assorted news media. I’ve never been in a parade before, but to “lead” the St Patrick’s Day parade in front of a million onlookers was something I’ll never forget.

At the end of the parade, I had to bail out (not an easy task with the crowd along the route 10-20 people deep) and make my way to a restaurant who would let me onto their wi-fi, so I could upload pictures to the Irish Times, who then ran the pictures on the front page of the Sunday papers the next morning.


Gear | Canon 1D Mark4, Canon 5D Mark2, 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, 24-105mm f/4L USM, 70-200mm f/2.8L II USM, fill flash



Stephen King

Stephen King

ncc092917-061.jpg

In 2017, one of the most famous authors in the world today, Stephen King, co-authored a new book with his son, Owen. As part of his promotional tour in the Chicago area, an event was held in the field house of North Central College (who hired me to shoot publicity pictures of Mr King’s visit to the college). Over 3,300 people lined up to purchase the book and hear Stephen and Owen speak about their collaboration.

I have to admit, I’ve never read a Stephen King book (I’m a non-fiction reader), but it was fun hanging out with and talking to the Kings as they autographed books backstage before the event. I also got to talk with Owen about Maine (where Stephen lives and where I do landscape photography workshops).

Gear | Canon 1DX Mark2, 24-105mm f/4L II USM, 70-200mm f/2.8L II USM, 300mm f/2.8L USM



The Day Mike Went to Prison...

The Day Mike Went to Prison...

1S8-1223.jpg

Beauty can be found in some strange places sometimes. Last Saturday, I spent over four hours in prison. It was a wet, cold and dreary day– just like you’d expect every day to be like at a correctional facility. The Joliet Correctional Center opened in 1858 and finally closed its heavy steel doors for the last time in 2002 due to budget cuts. Since then, people have broken into the prison to explore, take photos or vandalize. But in 2018, to raise money for the local museum, the prison has opened up for special history and photography tours. And that’s what brought me to Joliet in the middle of a downpour early on Saturday morning…

To view large, full screen images and read more, follow this link.