This is my Grandma Hume. I just took this picture of her and my cousin’s Golden Retriever, Gus. My Grandma has had a camera in my face my whole life. She is one of the reasons I became a photographer. I also inherited my never-ending energy from her. She just celebrated her 83rd birthday, and I hope when I am her age, I can be as happy and energetic as she. Happy birthday, Grandma.
In my photography career, I was always taught to stay connected to the ones that fuel your journey. If you are inspired by other photographers, contact them, learn from them, ask questions and listen. Photojournalism is an extremely competitive field, but we have a responsibility as a group to ethically report life. Talk to your teachers, colleagues and elders in all aspects of life. The best photojournalists are humble and most are willing to share their stories. All you have to do is listen. These are some of my favorites.
I just recently was lucky enough to meet with Peter Turnley in New York City. I have always been greatly inspired by him and his brother’s work. His images make you feel very close to the subjects. He also runs some pretty amazing workshops, and if I ever get enough money, I will attend one.
Art Shay is one of my favorite old-time Chicago photographers. He inspires me because when I look at his photos, it makes me proud to live in this great city. He also has a great sense of humor in person and in his photography.
Dave LaBelle is an amazing person and photographer. This is one of my favorite books to look at when I feel uninspired. It always makes me think about what I am doing wrong and helps me re-think assignments that I may find boring, turning them into something interesting.
John H. White - my hero, my guardian angel - the reason I am who I am today. I had John H. White as my photojournalism teacher at Columbia College, and if it were not for him, I would not be a photojournalist today.
Phil Velasquez was another one of my favorite teachers at Columbia College. This is the letter of recommendation Phil wrote for me to get into the Eddie Adams workshop. I did not get into the workshop that year, but I learned so much from Phil, mostly about how to shoot sports, which is one of my favorite things to photograph.
Jon Langham - Jon was my photo editor at Pioneer Press, my mentor for the past nine years, a father figure and good friend. He gave me my first chance as an intern in college, then hired me as a staff photographer later. This was my first review. I laugh at it because I am still horrible at Photoshop. Jon was recently laid off and my heart feels heavy for him and all those around the world getting let go as newspapers disappear. My days may be numbered as well, but I will always look back at the times I spent with Jon and all my other colleagues and think how lucky I am to have been a part of this.
I am working on a personal project documenting Chicago Avenue. I live off this street and think it is one of the most fascinating stretches in the city. It runs from the high-end Gold Coast starting at Lake Shore Drive all the way down to the impoverished, yet hopeful, lower West Side. Of all of Chicago’s streets, I believe “Chicago Ave.” best exemplifies the city. I hope to capture that through my project and post on this regularly.
4805 W. Chicago Ave.
5604 W. Chicago Ave.
In March 2009, I won two honorable mentions for photos at the annual Illinois Press Photographers Association’s Pictures Of The Year contest. My Pioneer Press colleagues Suzanne Tennant, Rob Hart and Ruthie Hauge also won awards in various categories.