Chicago’s Union Station

Great Hall in Chicago's Union StationGreat Hall in Chicago's Union StationGreat Hall in Chicago's Union StationGreat Hall in Chicago's Union StationGreat Hall in Chicago's Union StationGreat Hall in Chicago's Union StationGreat Hall in Chicago's Union StationColumns outside Chicago's Union StationUnion Station in ChicagoUnion Station and Willis Tower

One of the most incredible interior spaces in Chicago is rarely seen, unless you are a commuter or Amtrak loyalist.  And even then, most people rushing to or from their train have little time to stop and admire the breathtaking architecture surrounding them.  Union Station was completed in 1925 by the architectural firm of  Graham, Anderson and Probst, though Daniel Burnham drew up the original plans; he died before his plan could be realized.  The 110’ high, block-long Great Hall is a vast space defined by it’s barrel-vaulted ceiling and rows of Corinthian columns (not related to the Corinthian leather in your dad’s Chrysler).  As many as 100,000 passed through Union Station back in its heydey in the 1940s, though today it’s a small fraction of that number.  Next time you are in the west Loop, grab a sandwich and have lunch sitting on the benches in the Great Hall and just admire how grand architecture can inspire the soul–or at least make for an enjoyable lunch.

Charlie Trotter, in rememberence

The following post was was from 2012 when Charlie Trotter closed his world famous and legendary restaurant on Armitage, and chose to move on to greener and more fulfilling pastures.  Earlier this week, we received the shocking news of his untimely passing.  During his career, Charlie reinvented what it means to create cutting edge meals, and his food ideas have become standard fare for chefs around the world.  Sure he ruffled some feathers along the way, and was known for his abrasive leadership style, but most of all, Charlie will be remembered for the amazing food he prepared, the chefs he trained, and the pleasure he shared with thousands of diners throughout the years.  We will miss you Chef.

 

It’s been a beautiful run, but after 25 years, Charlie Trotter is calling it quits. Just like that leftover lasagna–even if it’s still good for a late-night snack–at some point you just have to say goodbye.  Trotter is leaving when he’s at the top of his game.  Since 1987, his Lincoln Park restaurant has been a Mecca to foodies and culinary aficionados from around the world.  Not only did he introduce a new philosophy to gourmet cooking, he trained hundreds of fine chefs who have gone on to great acclaim (Grant Achatz for one).   A PBS TV star and author of 14 cookbooks, Trotter was a virtual food empire, and has received a pantry full of awards and accolades.  When Chicago magazine name him the “second-meanest person” in the city, he was upset because he never likes to be Number Two.  I had the privilege of photographing him several times in the past 20 years, and he has always been a gentleman, generous with his time, and respectful of my craft.  Here are some photos from my visits to Charlie Trotter’s restaurant.

World famous chef Charlie Trotter in 1998 for Wine Spectator20 years ago, Charlie Trotter in 1992 for Town & Country magazineThe famous table in the kitchen at Charlie TrottersThe staff at Charlie Trotters in 1998--any famous chefs in this photo?The dining room in 1992The dining room in 1992 at Charlie Trotters restaurant in Lincoln  ParkArtistic food creations at Charlie Trotters in 1992A fruit soup at Charlie Trotters in 1992 for Town & Country magazineThe famous table in the kitchen at Charlie Trotters 1992Artistic food creation at Charlie Trotters in 1992Artistic food creation at Charlie Trotters in 1992Young chef Charlie Trotter in 1992Charlie Trotter in the kitchen in 1995World famous Charlie Trotters restaurant on Armitage in Lincoln Park in 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter?

Wabash Avenue and Trump HotelShopper on Wabash AvenueDriehaus MuseumApple Store on Michigan AvenueMichigan Avenue and Water TowerMichigan Avenue and Water TowerMichigan Avenue at nightSuperior Street at nightChicago Avenue in the rainApple Store and blue umbrella
There’s a rumor that we are in the middle of a brutal Chicago winter.  I don’t know, I just don’t see it.  Heck, we had a thunderstorm last week.  Yesterday I was out in a shirtsleeves. Are we in a parallel universe?  I’m not complaining, I’m just sayin….  I went downtown recently to get shots of Michigan Avenue with holiday lights and snow, but it was raining. Here are some photos, you tell me if this is Chicago in January.

 

Paulson speaks, students listen

Professor Randall Kroszner and PaulsonTreasury Secretary Hank PaulsonTreasury Secretary Hank Paulson speaks to business studentsHank Paulson and Chicago Booth studentsTreasury Secretary Hank PaulsonTreasury Secretary Hank Paulson
Henry Paulson was chosen by George Bush to be US Secretary of the Treasury in 2006 and he played a large, and controversial role in the government’s attempt to prevent a total economic collapse.  Our economy is still ticking, so he wasn’t a total failure, but Monday-morning quarterbacks continue to snipe about his actions.  All this aside, I had the opportunity to photograph him at Chicago Booth (University of Chicago Graduate Business School) when he spoke to a large class of students in mid-January.  Paulson was humble and accepted some blame for faulty decisions that were made, and he welcomed sharp questions from the audience.  As a token of his goodwill and sincere feelings of remorse, Paulson handed out $100,000 gift cards to all the students in the room.  To insure my journalistic integrity, I declined the obvious attempt to sway my opinion.


 


					

Food Safety

Recently had a two-day shoot for the American Dietetic Association to illustrate various aspects of food safety.  Models, make-up, food stylist, nice locations–it all added up to a fun and stress-free photo shoot.  I also learned some important lessons about proper food preparation and storage: don’t store eggs in the egg compartment in the fridge; don‘t turn fried chicken with your fingers; and don’t eat pork sushi.

From Russia to Snooki

Jersey Shore superstar SnookiDeputy Prime Minister of Russian Federation Igor ShuvalovMacGoogle and MacDuff with Barker Pet ownersChicago State University basketball player Chicago engagement partyAspiring young actressWedding danceImam at Chicago mosqueYoung women at Chicago mosque

As a photographer, the variety of my work is usually dependent on the needs and whims of my clients. This past month is a prime example of the wide range of assignments I get on a regular basis.  I recently had the privilege of photographing the following celebrities:  “Jersey Shore” superstar Snooki; Igor Shuvalov, Deputy Prime Minister of Russia; and MacGoogle and MacDuff, my two famous Airedale terriers. I don’t know what the next month will bring, but I will keep you posted.

 

 

Elkhart, Indiana: A Tale of Two Cities

Bucolic Elkhart RiverSlow pace of life in ElkhartThe popular River WalkLunch time at the Daily GrindHistoric buildings on Main StreetOwner of Dicor, an RV industry supplierTina and Tina, two unemployed womenMonica, an unemployed mother of fourElkhart mayor Dick Moore  Boarded up houses, a familiar sightA casualty on Main StreetVacancy on Main StreetA local food pantryStocking shelves at the food pantryKaren, a victim of foreclosureOwner of Pop Culture, a soda pop store on Main Street

During this seemingly endless recession, few cities have been hit as hard as Elkhart, Indiana. With a local economy dependent on the whims of the RV industry, the recent downturn saw unemployment hit a whopping 20 percent. Thankfully, things have improved over the past year, but people are still suffering.  In September, I was sent to Elkhart with a writer from the Paris-based newsmagazine Le Nouvel Observateur to document how people are coping with the devastating effects of the recession.  What we found were two very different Elkharts.  The first was the upbeat, optimistic, rose-colored version of life portrayed by the business leaders, politicians and Chamber of Commerce spokespersons.  The second Elkhart was a sad and painful depiction expressed by local residents in a food pantry, unemployment office, and on the quiet streets of this once-prosperous town.  The “real” Elkhart apparently resides in the eye of the beholder.

Traditional Flavors of Amish Country

Fresh-baked pies, Country Lane Bakery in MiddleburyHomemade Amish apple butter Fresh-baked pie and bread, Country Lane Bakery in MiddleburyTraditional Amish horse and buggyWashing clothes the old-fashioned wayPaying for food on the honor systemSucculent ripe tomatoes at the Dutch Country MarketBees making Amish honeyShopping for peaches at Shipshewana Farmers Market
Just two hours–and 200 years–from Chicago in NE Indiana is Amish Country. Anchored by the towns of Shipshewana, Goshen and Nappanee, this area is home to a religious sect that disavows modern conveniences and other trappings of life in the 21st century.  Lines of buggies dot the country roads, women in long dresses and colorful bonnets shop at local markets, and men sporting beards and black coats are commonplace.  Last month I was sent to this region to document some of the culinary traditions of the Amish for ADA Times, the publication of the American Dietetic Association.  Traveling to farmers markets, retail stores, farm stands, and small farms down isolated back roads, I discovered a vast assortment of tasty baked goods, succulent fruits and vegetables, cheese factories, and jars of homemade pickles, apple butter and cherry salsa.  The Amish may not have their MTV, but they are prepared when the munchies come-a-calling.

 

Urbs in Horto: City in a Garden

The Official Chicago SealColumbus Park designed by Jens JensenLurie Garden at Millennium ParkMidway Plaisance at University of ChicagoBird Sanctuary at Montrose BeachLincoln Park LagoonBobolink Meadow in Jackson ParkOsaka Japanese Garden in Jackson ParkLincoln Park Lagoon Lincoln ParkOhio Beach Park Rogers Park in Autumn South Michigan Avenue and Millennium ParkNorth Pond in Lincoln Park

When people think of Chicago they think big city, historic architecture, traffic jams, and hot dogs.  But there is another side of the city that the locals know well, but outsiders may not be aware of.  I am speaking of the parks, gardens, forest preserves and other remnants of nature that still survive in the city.  When Chicago was incorporated in 1837, the founding fathers (mothers?) chose the motto “Urbs in Horto” (City in a Garden) and there must have been a reason.  Granted, there were probably a lot more gardens and nature back then, but the natural aspects of the city can still be found.  A few statistics:  552 parks comprising 7300 acres, 33 sand beaches, 16 lagoons, 10 bird and wildlife sanctuaries, and 20 million visitors to Lincoln Park alone.  In these photos I show a small portion of the natural wonders that can be found by any urban explorer (and check out that City Seal with motto).

Portraits of Creativity

 

Lido Lippi art restorer - Chicago portraitsAdam Siegel painter and fine artist - Chicago portraitsTerry Callier jazz musician - Chicago portraitsDavid Kings duck decoy carver - Chicago portraitsHook-Peterson Pottery - Chicago portrait photographerBenny Golson jazz saxophone - Chicago portrait photographerBryan Kerrigan ceramic artist - Chicago portrait photographerKristen Amato jewelry designer - Chicago portrait photographerNeil Kienitz painter - Chicago portrait photographerOrlando Espinoza fashion designer - Chicago portrait photographyIrma Svanadze Classical pianist - Chicago portrait photographyLarry Zgoda stained glass artist  - Chicago portrait photography