Seeing Red

Chicago Bus Stop ©2009 Chicago Tribune/Alex Garcia

The morning scene at a bus stop in Little Village. On my way to the Cook County criminal courts building, I’ve seen this colorful wall but haven’t had the time to stop for photographs. This particular morning I had some time, and the sky was clear. It’s interesting that everything turned red that morning. The man’s hooded sweatshirt. Even Tiger Woods showed up in red. I wonder if there’s some advertising lesson here…

Avoiding the Rain


©2009 Chicago Tribune/Alex Garcia

Passing by the homeless, I don’t typically stop to take a picture. I don’t know if it’s an aversion to objectifying a person, or if it’s simply not my business unless the Trib is doing a story. But I don’t want to hide the homeless either.  In this case,  I stopped to photograph the scene – maybe because of the state of the economy and its rampant foreclosures, or maybe because the stairs resembled an altar to me. I was plumbing the depths of the Lower Wacker and Lower Michigan network of streets for a weather picture, and actually ran into my supervisor who was commuting to work at that moment.  It is a peculiar place that gives many homeless at least a dry place to sleep, and commuters a chance to avoid rain for a stretch of pavement.  It’s also a place that offers one pause to consider the circumstances and results of birth, life and choice. As my mom once said to me as a child when I made a careless remark about a homeless person,  “There but by the grace of God go you…”

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…

Shirtless in Chicago

shirtless-in-Chicago©2009 Chicago Tribune

Fridays are some of the best days for photographing street life in the city. People are out, relaxed, looking toward the weekend and in this case, “wearing torso”…. I was stopped at a light on Madison on the west side on a recent Friday when I saw this man out my rear passenger window. I’ve often thought of assembling a collection of photos taken out my car window between assignments, since I often don’t have time to stop in places that call out for pictures.   It’s interesting that in that brief traffic moment, while he was in a conversation and I was a casual observer, he had a moment of quiet reflection. You don’t expect to see that on a busy, noisy street. There was also something very photographable about the light, body gesture, accessories and ennui that had the feel of a billboard ad for jeans – a fashion that years from now will go out of style, but is ubiquitous for the moment…