Tag Archives: Chicago food photographer
Urban farm, it almost sounds like an oxymoron, but trust me, it isn’t. These farms are sprouting up (no pun intended) all over Chicago and other urban areas, and represent an efficient way to re-purpose under-utilized warehouse space in the city, often in economically distressed areas. Plus, they offer a tremendous opportunity for small-scale organic farmers to ply their trade in a supportive and mega-green environment.
I recently had the occasion to photograph two such urban farms: The Plant and Iron Street Farm. The former calls itself “a net-zero energy vertical farm and food business operation” whose purpose is to “promote closed-loop food production and sustainable economic development through education and research.” Now that’s a mouthful (no pun intended). And the later is a “seven-acre site on Chicago’s south side that produces local, healthy, and sustainable food year-round with a focus on serving, training, and engaging vulnerable populations.” Urban farms produce a wide range of products including cheese, vegetables, mushrooms, honey, beer, compost, and even fish. I suspect when we sang “Old McDonald had a farm” this wasn’t exactly the type of farm we were referring to.
Earlier this month, more than one million people came to McCormick Place to visit the world’s largest indoor parking lot, often referred to as the Chicago Auto Show. For the auto aficionado, this was a once-a-year opportunity to touch the cars you only dream about: Ford, Chevy, Honda, Kia, and even Hyundai. And those lucky few willing to wait in long lines had the heart-stirring experience of sitting in the front seat and looking out the same windshield that people who actually own these cars will look through. This is heady stuff. But the show appealed to the mind and not just the passions of the attendees–vital information could be gleaned from the knowledgeable staff at the show: Does the F-150 come in diesel? How many cup holders in a Mini-Cooper? Are floor mats here to stay? With hundreds of cars buffed to a blinding patina, and the entire convention floor reeking of that “new car smell”, this was the ultimate in Auto Erotica. For me, the highlight was seeing a 1969 black GTO, that sexy muscle car that Gregg and I took across country in the ultimate road trip which became the basis of my book “On the Road”.
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.
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.
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.