Faces of Need – Photo Exhibit

©2010 Chicago Tribune/Alex Garcia

Laura Haag, who says she has been homeless for a year, asks for money at the corner of Franklin and Washington streets in the Loop. She used to be a cashier at Wal-Mart before losing her job. In this case I photographed her before talking to her, since camera awareness is sometimes difficult to calm once it is awakened. She was fine with it and we talked a bit about her situation and other issues affecting the homeless. The Tribune will be doing more stories of the homeless and poverty in the months ahead, and pictures with stories like hers will be figuring into our future coverage.  As part of this mission, the Tribune has sponsored a photo exhibit called “The Faces of Need” about poverty and homelessness. It spans several decades, and just opened yesterday (my apologies for those wanting to attend the opening). All photos will be for sale, with proceeds to benefit the People’s Resource Center in Wheaton. More details can be found at the Poverty Project’s website.

So You Think You Can Dance?

©2010 Chicago Tribune/Alex Garcia

Auditions for the “So You Think You Can Dance?” show were held at the Cadillac Palace Theater in Chicago on Thursday. Hundreds of hopefuls lined up outside and down the block, since early in the morning. Around 7am, cameramen with the show started stirring up the crowd and filming people in line showing their dancework . At left was an associate producer, who brought a group of women into the street to flaunt their moves. A lot of energy, excitement, enthusiasm – and young people – were in the air. A fun morning… There’s an online gallery of some other images, including the show’s host.

A Big Chicago Bear Hug

LanceBriggs01©Chicago Tribune/Alex Garcia

Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs announces the start of a Christmas shopping spree for 30 high-achieving but needy children who live in CHA homes. His “Briggs for Kids” charity gives out $200 gift cards each from Target. Although not all the kids knew exactly what he did for the Bears – “are you a running back?” – my guess is they won’t ever forget the experience. As a child at about their same age, I was given the opportunity to meet Walter Payton, Bob Avellini, Gary Fencik and other Bears players in their locker room after practice. I still remember being grabbed and whipped around playfully by Vince Evans. My guess is that years after their toys fall apart, their clothes are too small, and their games lose their appeal, these kids will still remember thirty years later the Bear-size hug and handshake from a real live action hero.

A Head in the Clouds


©2009 Alex Garcia

“You know, there’s ZERO visibility up there”….”Zero visibility, you know that sir”…”Zero visibility today. Can’t see anything. Nothing”. By the time I got past the three different employees who warned me that there was nothing to see at the top of the Willis Tower on a foggy day, you begin to feel that your public persona is either that of a fool, or of a person on a suspicious mission.  I just wanted to see whether there was any possibility of photographing building tops through the shifting cloudbanks. As it turned out, I had some company up there – a smattering of visitors from around the world, who probably had one afternoon to see the Willis Tower and this was it. Some of them may have realized this, but if you can get beyond the fears of being that high up, enveloped in a cloud that obscures the vision much like darkness, it can turn a sightseeing attraction into a contemplative moment.

Street Geometry


©2009 Chicago Tribune/Alex Garcia

The interplay of light, architecture, and people in the Loop has always been a fascination for me, even as a child growing up in the ‘burbs.  At one point some years ago I was fortunate enough to have a series of pictures of the Loop in the Tribune accompany poetry by Chicago poet Stuart Dybek. With morning light part of my shift, I hope to continue my photographic exploring of the compositional geometries and lightplay of our city’s downtown area. Wow, that was a mouthful…