30 “Typical” Photo Assignments

©2010 Chicago Tribune/Alex Garcia

The wheel turns at Navy Pier a recent morning, and a new month of assignments brings new highs and lows in the life of our city. I was asked a fairly frequent question on Friday, “So what is your typical day like?” As viewers of this blog know, every day is atypical.  I’m on a day shift which means that I get whatever happens during that period of time. I usually find out that morning, with many changes during the day. Think of photo assignments as airplanes needing air traffic control.  If you look at assignments on radar, the flight path of one photojournalist from another could be completely different owing to the time of day and other circumstances. If I’m a night guy working weekends, it means I’m shooting a lot of sports.  When I worked in Southern California, I would be out at photographing Rams or Raiders game every weekend. I even shot NFC Championships and a Superbowl. But as a Chicago photographer, I haven’t shot a single Bears or Bulls game in 10 years (OK with me, BTW). So in addition to time of day, the size of paper makes a difference.  If I worked at a smaller paper, I might be shooting a feature picture story of an interesting character in the community on a regular basis. At a larger paper, that character might become a portrait to occupy the lead in a sweeping piece about interesting characters in a region. Each approach has its strengths, but it will color a photojournalist’s portfolio. As a result, the work of a photojournalist and his newspaper is symbiotic. Below is a short sampling of my photo assignments from the past month.  Since moving to an earlier morning shift, I found there tends to be more overnight crime than at other points in my career.

(I don’t describe those that haven’t been published yet or which are multiple day assignments. Many assignments, in which I check on a police report, don’t get listed either).

A popular restaurant that burned down overnight.

People whose health insurance was mistakenly dropped.

Cubs pack up for spring training.

A candidate for Cook County Board President casts her vote.

A memorial after a fatal car crash.

A wind farm.

Lawyers at a press conference about medical malpractice.

Interviews of Republican candidates for governor.

CTA bus stops in the wake of budget cuts.

Lawyers at a press conference about a medical malpractice court ruling.

Heavy snowfall.

A gubernatorial candidate thanks voters at a train station.

A street corner of a proposed high tower in suburbs.

A body found in an alley.

The Auto Show.

A mob of media surrounding a convicted town mayor released from prison.

A CHA building being demolished.

Freight trains stalled in suburbs, blocking intersections.

An executive director of a battered women’s shelter.

An early morning shooting at Northern Illinois University.

A police officer killed in an accident.

A single father brings his kids to a preschool.

High schoolers playing rugby.

A warehouse of printing presses.

A food pantry for the needy.

Family of teenager shot and killed.

A state official at a church event.

Commuters struggling with weather.

Freeway accident involving a state vehicle.

Behind the scenes at a Chicago Police Department facility.

Alex Garcia


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