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Entries in Chicago (19)


Wading Into the Magic


We were supposed to be going to Costco to pick up prints before they closed. I looked at the sky, and I knew that the lake would be amazing, and so Costco would have to wait til the next day. I told my backseat passenger that we'd had a change of plans, and that we'd be going to the beach instead, and she started protesting loudly, that she didn't have her bathing suit. I don't use the word 'protesting' lightly, either. These were some LOUD demonstrations of her displeasure. But I knew once we were there, all would be right as rain, and so we went.

The lake was a magic pool of irridescent blues when we got there. She wasted no time jumping into what she does best, which is to play, to make believe, to sing, to dance, to laugh...No, she didn't have her bathing suit, but that didn't stop her from becoming one with the water and sand.

Watching her on the beach at sunset never gets old to me...


And This Is How We Begin...

First Foto Of 2012

First foto of 2012: Two of my favorite Geminis in the world.

First meal of 2012: Kung Pao Shrimp

First drink of 2012: Cheap Pilsner

First album of 2012: Black Star

First movie of 2012: Ghost Dog

First cig of 2012: 3 1/2 month old Nat Sherman Menthol

First wish upon a star of 2012: Something about friendship...


Open Door

Intuit Entrance

I love the teal door. Don't have much else to say...


Downtown With Anna

Downtown with Anna

I'm one of those weird photographers who like artificial light, especially at night in an urban setting.  I had the chance to take some shots of Anna Fermin downtown last night, and this is probably one of my favorites from the shoot.


Things have been crazy busy (when is it not?) and to make matter worse, my PAYING job has been super busy too, so I'm burning both ends of the candle pretty much every night these days.  Please send me your positive vibes, healthy immune systems and most of all, a dry weekend in Central Michigan where our family will be Friday through Monday.


Bus Stop

Bus Stop

He was sitting all alone at the bus stop on the corner of Augusta and Western.  He looked tired, his face wearing the signs of age and hardship and diligence.  Then he hunched over, clasped his hands together--whether in prayer or despair, I don't know; maybe both.  The bus was nowhere in sight, still a long ways off.


1st Blogiversary + Announcement


Today is the one year anniversary of my 1st post on this blog.  It's been quite the challenge posting a photo every day for a whole year, and I've really learned a lot from the experience.  I'm going to try to continue posting every day, but I'm not going to lose sleep (literally) if I don't.

Since my first post was to announce my first exhibit at Wicker Park Grace, I thought this blogiversary post would be appropriate for announcing that I will be the artist of the month on display at The Common Cup, one of our favorite local independent coffehouses in the heart of Rogers Park, starting August 4th (or 5th, depending on how fast I get things hung).  I'm hoping to have an event there that will be a fundraiser for the Rogers Park Parents Group, which I'm an assistant organizer for, so I'll make another announcement about that in the near future.

Thank you all for visiting and commenting over the past year!  As a special thank-you gift, the first dozen people who send me an email at sarah[at]sarah-ji[dot]com with your mailing address will get a print of your own (you can let me pick or if there's a specific photo you had in mind, I'll take it into consideration).


Obama Fan

Obama Cap

Something about seeing a guy in suspenders always puts a smile on my face.  Weren't they kind of in during the 80's or something?  And I liked his Obama baseball cap too.  Maybe he's a diehard fan or maybe he just needed something for his head.

I love my President and all, but I sure wish he'd hurry up on some things.  If LBJ could get the Civil Rights Act passed, the least Obama can do is repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."  That would be a start.

Anyhoo, I'm going off on a tangent.  This photo was something I snapped pretty quickly as the gentleman passed me on the street, and I must confess that I had a silly grin on my face as I clicked the shutter.


Afternoon Flare

Afternoon Flare

I love being downtown during the light of the late afternoon.  The tall buildings provide enough shade, and the light that does get through is just glorious, like beams of pure gold.


In the Window

Davis Reflected

I always take comfort in seeing the tall sign that declares the location of the historic Davis movie theater in Lincoln Square.  I love the font, and I love just how ridiculously high those letters climb.  That sign marks one of my favorite spots of Lincoln Ave.


Advertise Here

Advertise here

I wonder if in this economy, advertising on the sides of buildings is a lot cheaper than it normally would be.  If I had a bunch of money I didn't need, I would purchase a couple dozen of these ad spaces and have my friends paint murals or print humongo banner sized photos and plaster them onto the sides of these naked buildings.  It would be like a citywide installation or something.


Tender Is the Night

Fulton and Damen

I have a post up on Shutter Sisters today about night photography, which you can read here.  I could have just cross posted the same content here, but since that was a bit of a technical post, I wanted to share something more personal about why night photography means so much to me.

Seven years ago to the day, I watched my dad die from pancreatic cancer in his hospital bed.  For the month preceding his death, I spent all my non-working time doing three things: being by my dad's side in the hospital, going to live music shows and taking photos.  Oh wait.  Add a 4th: blogging.  I started my original blog a couple weeks before my dad went into the hospital, and the events during those first couple months gave me much material for blogging.

It was during this time that I developed a deep appreciation for night photography.  I guess you could say that it was my method of choice for self-soothing.  I would often leave the hospital after visiting hours were over, drive to a spot with a view of the city and take a bunch of photos, wrapped up in my thoughts.  I was grieving the loss of a relationship, the imminent loss of my dad and the possible loss of my faith.  Those were dark times for me, and maybe that's why I took so much comfort in the night.

In the Garden at Night

Sometimes, when I happen to be out for the evening without Ted or Cadence, I'll stop somewhere on my way home to have a mini night photoshoot.  To this day, this is my favorite type of alone time--a date with my camera late at night on the streets of Chicago.  And during those occasions, my thoughts often return to that period in my life when I first embraced the night--to the images of my dad so sick and frail, jaundiced and childlike and helpless; to my overwhelming loneliness that was surprisingly met with comfort emanating from the city around me; to the realization that almost everything I had believed in regarding God and faith were now like dandelion seeds blowing willy nilly; to that yearning for connection and community and meaning that I still feel to this day; and to just how f*cking beautiful the world is during the night.


When You're Back In Your Old Neighborhood

This is a diner not too far from where I live.  It's been around since at least the mid-80's, which was the last time I went to it.  I was in eighth grade, and my friend Tracey and I went there for burgers one evening not too long before graduation.  It was the first time I'd eaten at a sit-down restaurant without an adult, and the first time I'd paid for my own food that wasn't from Jack-In-The-Box.  I was feeling mighty grown up.

I don't live too far from the various places I lived during my elementary school days, so I'm actually "back in my old neighborhood" pretty often.  Usually, though, I'm in a car, driving to church or to pick up Ted from work.  I've always wanted to take a walk around there to take some photos, so when I had my chance last week when I took our car in to get its brakes fixed, I happily forwent [That so does not look like a word, forwent; forgoed looks and sounds better to me.  Silly English!] the last bus ride so I could meander down Clark Street. Here are some other photos documenting the weird and beautiful that is Clark Street between Ridge and Devon.



I stumbled on this striking wall mural while walking to the A.C. Newman show on Wednesday night.  One of the things I love about this city is finding art surrounded by urban decay.  I run into it everywhere I go, and it always puts a smile on my face, whether I like the art or not.  The fact that someone took the time to create something amidst barrenness and rot is something you've gotta respect.


Crazy Times Continued

Let's from the 2009 are a few.  As you can see, there was music...

...there were frogs...

...there were people who'd been down a rabbit hole...

...there were hot, acrobatically gifted marching band players...

...Wes Anderson characters...

...some really cool tattoos...

...tons of beer and related paraphanalia...

...and oh, shopping carts and crazy people racing them!


Crazy Times

I helped my friend Justin photograph the 2009 Chiditarod.  No, this is not the Iditarod, which is the Alaskan dog sled race that spans 1,500 miles of treacherous terrain.  This is CHIditarod, a human-powered shopping cart race through just several square miles of treacherous Chicago streets. These legs happen to belong to members of the kickass Environmental Encroachment Marching Band who are the "house band" if you will of the Chiditarod.

I'll post some more photos this week.  It was pretty crazy.



Looking In

When you live in a big city like Chicago, you tend to go as fast as you can from point A to point B, without paying much attention to what's in between, especially during the cold and blustery winter months. Drivers with their car windows rolled up, cyclists with helmets steadied against the wind, and pedestrians disguised in hats and scarves with their collars turned up--they're all moving as fast as they can, and you really can't blame them in the Windy City.

I, on the other hand, even after 30 years in the city, prefer to slowly meander, with my camera in hand. I've got weeks of illnesses under my belt this winter to prove it. One of my favorite things to do is looking in the windows of the storefronts and businesses that line Chicago's many busy streets. You'd be surprised at the treasure trove of images waiting for you behind those foggy/frosty panes of glass, as well as the images reflecting back at you.

If you ever find yourself at a loss for photos, try taking a little saunter down any street in a business district or a city, and I'm sure you'll find a plethora of images you'll want to take home with you, if not in your tote bag then in your camera.


A modified version of this post appeared yesterday on Shutter Sisters.