Category Archives: blog

one year of illness recently celebrated our first birthday. (I know because I had to renew the domain and hosting)   I have to say that it has indeed been an interesting year.  There are some highlights that stand out in my mind.

- Going to Vegas and driving out into the middle of the dessert to see the remains of a prehistoric sea.

- An impromptu shoot in one of the most interesting public bathrooms i have ever seen.

- Traveling the city with In The City TV and seeing people and places that make up all the different sides of Chicago.


-  Joining forces with Chicago Beer Geeks to help tell the story of Chicago through beer!

- The great feeling that comes from having someone tell you that your fotos, sir up some meaningful feelings within them.

- Learning more and about how create beautiful images that people cherish.

So, now that is officially a second year player, I guess it time for us to start hiking up the prices.. after-all photography equipment is not cheap.  Just kidding…

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Trayvon and The People

I think possibly the most frightening sounds that I have ever heard was are the screams in terror of young Trayvon Martin on the now infamous 911 calls from neighbors.  You can hear Trayvon desperately yelling “HELP HELP” at the top of his lungs.  Then there is a shot and the yelling stops.  A defenseless teen is violently murdered.  There are witnesses.  The murderer is a well known citizen of the community who should not be hard to find and apprehend.

Hoodies Up
Some of us know all too well what it is like to lose a loved one to violence.  There are more tragic stories of youth falling victim to unnecessary shootings in Chicago than there are stories in all the skyscrapers downtown.  We have heard the shots in the darkness and seen the news reports about the ungodly death tolls in a city that holds so much promise and opportunity.  So why are people so moved by the apparent racial profiling and racist murder that occurred on Feb, 26th in Sanford, Florida?  What about this indecent has rallied hundreds of thousands to mobilize and demand justice for the familiy of  Treyvon Martin?

I think the President of the United States, Barack Obama said it best, “If I had a son, he would look like Treyvon.”   After listen to the 911 tapes, learning more about George Zimmerman, hearing the facts surrounding the incident it is obvious that he should be charged with murder.  He should at least be detained.  The fact that he is currently walking around free in a slap in the face of so many.

Yes, there is violence that happens everyday in communities around the country that does not gain national headlines.  There are sons, daughters, brothers, mothers, fathers being beaten, raped, and violently killed.  This has been going on so long that people have began to expect it.  There is an expectation of gunfire and fighting when the weather warms up in Chicago.  Why do we stand for it?  Who is charged with stopping the violence?

There is a group called the Detroit 300 who have decided to take things into thier own hands.  These men have stood up and decided that enough is enough.  They are playing an active part in making a future for thier children. (see video)

Trayvon’s case will soon be resolved one way or the other. I pray that justice is properly served. But what if Zimmerman is found innocent? What happens then? Do we riot and hurt others and ourselves? Do we simply take the loss an move on to the next cause? Will we increase racial tensions between blacks and whites? Do we contenue to allow children to be murdered in their own homes and neighborhoods?

How about we honor the memory of Trayvon and all of the other people that have been killed before their time? This is not just about a “white” man shooting a black teen. This is about unifying and mobilizing to fight for justice!

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It has been an interesting past week. I have been contracted to shoot a couple very exciting events. I have also been shooting more architectural and nature scenes, which I find great pleasure in doing.

One thing that I have found quite interesting is that as I promote and let people know that I am building this business, I am hearing more and more people tell me how to ‘run’ this business. I also see more and more amateur and professional photographers that are coming into the game. I feel like there is room for everyone, but it is imperative that I master this craft to stand above the competition.

I get nothing from hating on anyone else and actually feel like I could possibly learn some things from others. I am still doing low cost shoots. I am signed up for more classes. I am eagerly learning new tools. I am experimenting with angles, exposure, shutter speeds, lighting, and more.

At church today, the pastor spoke about the builder that works on a building that is not blessed by God. No matter how hard he works, it is all in vain and will amount to nothing if the establishment is not in line with God.

This makes alot of sense. Some people are obviously more religious than others, but I think that this is applicable to many things that we do in life. I used to always feel like it was just me against the world. I didn’t know how to ask for help or admit when I was overwhelmed.
I guess wisdom does come with age.

This is and I’m snappin!


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My grandmother made quilts.  She made many many quilts.  She made large quilts that fit large beds and small quilts for little babies.  She made fancy ones, themed ones, and simple quilts.  My grandmother could take any kind of fabric and turn it into a piece of something greater. My grandmother showed her love through her quilts.  She passed down her legacy within her quilts.  She expressed  her creativity through her quilts.  She warmed bodies, hearts, and souls with her fabulous magical quilts.  She made them unselfishly.  Each one specifically crafted to enrich another person’s life.

I honestly have no idea how many people she has touched and impacted with the work she has done.

When I was a kid all I  knew was my great dinosaur quilts that Ma Kip made for me.  I went to other kid’s houses and I never saw anything as kool as the one I had.  The one that my grandma made just for me.  Now that I am grown I have the quilt that she made for me when I went off to college. It is a bit shaggy and tattered now, but I know that it was made just for me.

When I stop and think about it, I get saddened knowing that my kids will never have a quilt crafted by Ma Kip for themselves.  She won’t ask them what colors they want, if they want designs on both sides or any of the discovery questions the spark that creative process that is always so skillfully completed by those beautiful, frail, brown fingers.

I am an Aquarius and I love this season.  Lately is has been quite bitter-sweet though.  My grandmother passed Jan 31, 2010.  5 days before my birthday.  I miss her.  She loved me.  I will always have my quilt.

Ma Kip


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Life is a trip

You never know what tomorrow will bring.  You just have to decide what you what to do and what you want out of life and do all that you can to get it.  This morning as I rode the way overcrowded (im talking sardines) CTA 26 bus to work, I was thinking out this.  I was thinking about how all too often we find ourselves feeling trapped and simply just going through the motions of life day to day.  I am not sure about you but that is not the type of existence I planned for and it is not something I wish upon others.

Then as the bus was pulling up to the first stop downtown a young woman that I see regularly fell over and grabbed onto another rider as she went down.  She was sweating profusely and it seemed like she was having a seizure.  As the bus cleared out due riders getting off at the stop, more and more people noticed what was going on and there was genuine concern.  The driver then stopped the bus and an ambulance was called. Once I saw that she had more than enough assistance all I could do was be on my way.

Walking down South Michigan Ave, I hoped that I would see her tomorrow morning and everything  would be ok.  I thought about how I was going to be late to work and how I didn’t particularly care that much.  I looked at the cold morning Chicago skyline and the masses of people franticly navigating the streets and I thought about what  dope pictures I could capture if I had my camera on hand.  I thought about what would be a good shutter speed to freeze the speeding cabs and commuters on the frigid morning.  I thought about what if that ridiculously overcrowded bus was to hit a icey spot on the road.

Life is a trip. You never know what you’re gonna get.  Take a trip.  See the world. Let the sun warm your skin.  Help people. Don’t forget your dreams. Follow them. They might just take you somewhere breathtaking that you have never been..



Valley of Fire

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on my way..

So as I begin this journey into the world of semi pro photography, I can’t help bet to think about how I got to this point.

Since this is my blog and I can basically say what ever I like, I will quickly talk about my creative side.

I would look in awe at the great landscapes of Ansel Adams and I wanted to be able to capture the beauty of the world around me and share it with others.  I really wanted a digital camera because I was beginning to notice that film would be a thing of the past in the coming years.

image from icstars stakeholders event 1/16/12


I got my 1st digital camera as a Christmas gift from my mother in 2003.  It was a FugiFilm FinePix 2.o mp photographic beast.  I loved my little camera and captured hundreds of images of my hometown of Robbins, Il.  It wasn’t full of breathtaking landscapes, but it was a great place to capture images of both hope and despair.

Not long after that I began working with digital and graphic design.  I took some classes to learn more about photoshop, illastrator, and video editing. Of course I stepped my camera game up. I ran a successful t-shirt business (Kool Joe Kustoms) for quite some time while also working as an event photographer.

I have made hundreds of shirts and taken thousands of photos.  Now in 2012, I am going to take it to the next level.  I have a new DSLR, a mastery of social media, and a eagerness to build something that brings joy to myself and others.




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