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.

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…”

20th Reunion

©2009 Alex Garcia

Was back on campus at Northwestern University for my 20th year reunion and felt the urge to take pictures on campus..not just because of the fall foliage, but because as the former photo editor for the campus yearbook, there was a sense of wanting to close a circle of photography. My interest in photojournalism had started here on campus, lugging around a camera in between classes. The career interest brought me to both coasts, numerous papers and countries for assignment, then back to the Trib whose front page down the street had one of my photos that day. What a long, strange, but blessed, trip it’s been…

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…

Early Morning Blur


©2009 ChicagoTribune/Alex Garcia

It’s early in the morning on the lakefront, and sleepwalking is my current form of exercise. A joke, but I’m a night owl trying to adapt to a 6 a.m. morning shift, so I’m out of sorts. I like being able to see the sunrise, but all the activity I see – it’s all just a blur. I’m here at the lakefront because these glowing leaves caught my attention while driving by looking for pictures.  Now I sit and burst off frames as I wait for the elements to line up. To run, powerwalk, bike along the lake as the sun rises must be a wonderful way to start the day. Especially with the slight chill of the morning to whisk away sweat and fatigue. Wonderful..must be…I’ll put it on my list of experiences to have…