Slivers of Light


©2009 Alex Garcia

I’m frequently in the Loop in a parking garage that faces the Metropolitan Correctional Center. With its triangular shape and narrow windows, it often causes me to pause for a longer look at its unique architecture and what I imagine to be the varied life stories found within each sliver of light. I’ve photographed enough stories of the wrongfully accused and the rightfully jailed, the innocent bystanders and the guilty perpetrators, the deceived and the deceivers, to know that every story within that narrow box is either messy, sad, evil, or some combination of the three. I usually pause, then drive away, grateful that I can.

Citizens, Chicagoans

©2009 Chicago Tribune/Alex Garcia

I know you’ve seen it before. It was a naturalization ceremony, but this time at Daley Plaza.  In the plaza there were more than 100 people from about 35 countries…so many life stories. My thoughts were with my Dad who came from Cuba more than a half century ago…The man at center was just bubbling the whole time. You couldn’t help but notice him. He was an Iraqi who waved the U.S. flag most of the ceremony. Even his son on the edges said, “I didn’t know he would be so excited about this”. It was his second time taking the citizenship test, and this time he passed.  This was one assignment where I found myself smiling throughout.