Mass Yoga at Union Station

©Chicago Tribune/Alex Garcia

So the assigning editor in the morning tells me to check out a mass yoga demonstration at Union Station that would involve commuters. It sounded like it had some photographic potential in terms of “real people doing real things”, but when I got there, the overwhelming public relations nature of the event was plainly evident. The event was to promote a financial services website. Of course, newspapers often cover events that have an overwhelming public relations nature to them. Or as some cynics like to say “Slow news day, huh?” Sometimes the editorial response to a business promoting an event is “buy an ad”.  In this case, I stayed awhile trying to focus on people who seemed to be real commuters caught up in the blue shirt frenzy. It didn’t seem like there were many interested to partake, and I felt the pressure of leaving for my next assignment. After deciding to shoot from the second floor, I finally found a moment that would be real enough – a man in a tie struggling to keep up. I come down to get his name only to find out he was a marketing executive helping to organize the event. ARGGH!

A Glorious Canvas


©2009 Chicago Tribune/Alex Garcia

It has been a revelation for me to work the early morning shift – morning by morning new glories above the Chicago skyline. It’s amazing. Every sunrise is like a new painting (ok, when it’s not overcast)… Not that I would get up earlier on a regular basis, because  I’m such a night person, but why haven’t I ever heard people talk about the gorgeous sunrises over the city?  It’s quite different than watching the sunset over the Eisenhower in the evening and the red color caused by brake lights from a traffic jam. Here the skyline and sky create this momentous promise. You half expect to pass the Chicago Symphony Orchestra playing on an overpass or sidestreet. I can’t believe I’ve been snoozing through this for so many years…



©2009 Chicago Tribune/Alex Garcia

Like many people, I’ve been disturbed by some of the unbelievable news that has emerged from Chicago area cemeteries. Coffins dug up, bones found, plots resold, headstones delayed for months, flooded graves. The silver lining is that all the media attention is pressuring businessmen and politicians into finally taking some serious action.  The above picture came from a cemetery where some headstones were flooded. While walking through some bushes, I stumbled upon this headstone and others scattered about like trash.  This photo didn’t make the cut for our page one story, but the gravestone still lingers with me – as if to remind me that what we know may just be the tip of an iceberg.

Da Mayor

Da Mayor

©2009 Chicago Tribune

I would be remiss to start a Chicago photoblog without a reference to Mayor Daley, who has become something of a fascination to those who observe him through the lens. He can appear, within moments of each other, to be both good-natured and yet, well, a tad surly.  The latter is the emotion more often reflected in the day’s news, from press conferences that get testy.   Whether or not that’s an unfair caricature, I thought these two images provide a useful insight on how moment, light, composition and angle of view can all contribute to different representations of Da Mayor.

Downtown Downpour


© 2009 Chicago Tribune

For the Chicago area and our economy, it seems like there’s always the threat of more rain. Occasionally to this column I’ll be publishing flashback photos – pictures that represent a timeless Chicago and that most of my blog readers have never seen. This scene was from a July in which I found myself on LaSalle Street for an unexpected downpour.  The humorous aspect of this picture is that I was trying to keep ahead of this businessman to frame him within the street yet he kept speeding up at the sound of my footsteps. He didn’t look back, and so couldn’t have known who I was. But he pressed ahead more quickly. Perhaps his healthy paranoia of the unknown is a useful commodity in today’s business world!:-)

Aerial Automobile

CT Flyover20

©2009 Chicago Tribune

Color, light, and above all, the patterns. I mean, how can you not enjoy aerial imagery?  When I look at car graveyards, I tend to wax on about the romantic, illusory control these cars once held on our imaginations. Of course, I hold no illusions about my current decade-old Kia. When it joins cars like these, all I can think is, “’tis a far, far better resting place…”:-)