Focal points Photography

Focal Points: Archived

From 2010-2011, I published a photoblog on the Chicago Tribune’s blog network ChicagoNow. Entitled ‘Focal Points,’ the purpose of the blog was to showcase the beauty of Chicago by traveling from neighborhood to neighborhood and publishing photo sets of each. 

The idea may, at some point, be resurrected and reworked, but for now, you can find a full archive of the blog and its photos here under the Focal Points category.


The Impossible Year

In 2010 I decided I was going to try to make a point to create and publish something every day. Whether it was a photograph on Flickr or a blog post here or elsewhere, it would be my own, personal accomplishment.

Unfortunately, I didn’t even come close. I could make excuses, but I simply didn’t succeed.

With the advent of Instagram in 2011, it became increasingly easy to do the “one photograph a day” type of project. As much as I’m a fan of digital photography, it takes very little effort to shoot a single image daily on your phone, and that takes all the fire out of it.

So I thought: “Go big or go home.”

At some point, I heard about the work of Jamie Livingston, who took one Polaroid photo a day from 1979 to his death in 1997.

Unfortunately, Polaroid ceased making new instant film in 2008, which seemingly ruled out that idea. At some point, though, I miraculously stumbled onto a group called The Impossible Project. ‘TIP’ is a group of Polaroid enthusiasts who set out to reverse engineer the good old stuff and are now producing new instant film compatible with Polaroid cameras.

Armed with film and a “new” camera, I have set out to shoot and publish one photograph a day using Impossible Project film. With that in mind, I’ve entitled my experiment “The Impossible Year” for a few reasons. The first and most obvious would be in tribute to the company making this possible. Secondly would be sorta tongue in cheek with myself as 2012 is the year the “world is supposed to end” according to the Mayan calendar, which if the world were actually to end, would certainly mean the end of my project. Lastly, it’s a challenge to myself not to fail, saying that my year would be “impossible” states that at some point, I might drop the ball and fail, thus pushing me to prove myself wrong.

So yeah enough BS. I didn’t write anything about this back in January because I wanted to make sure I’d be able to get at least one month under my belt. Now here we are, March is almost over, so it’s safe to say I’m going to keep at it. Please take a moment to look through the photos and feel free to leave comments or ask questions. Thanks!

Photography Technology

blue beanie day 2010

A parody book cover of Jeffrey Zeldman's 'Designing with Web Standards. The text reads "I support web standards" "bbd 2010" "but I don't have the right typeface" and a very pixelated photograph of John Morrison wearing a blue winter hat.

Show your support for web standards by wearing a blue beanie today and changing all your social networking avatars to a photo of you doing the same.

This is me attempting, poorly, to mimic the cover of Jeffrey Zeldman’s Designing With Web Standards 3rd Edition.

For more info check here.

Check out the Flickr group here

Chicago General Photography Theatre

This week in thankfulness

To start with I want to wish everyone a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

I’m visiting NY for the weekend to see my family and reflecting a bit right now I’m thankful for a lot. I’ve switched to part time at my retail job and I really have started to find a good work / life balance. I turned 29 on Saturday and had an awesome party with awesome friends. I can’t express enough how important and awesome my friends are. Thank you everyone. This has been a great year. What I am thankful for going forward though are exciting projects. If you know me, dear reader, I’m not happy unless I’m doing a million things at once, here is what is going on right now:

  1. I’ll be working with dynamic improv duo Batterymouth to promote their upcoming run Fridays at DeMaat Theatre at Second City from Jan 21st – Feb 25th. So far we have one publicity photo ready but there are more on the way. In my eyes Batterymouth is one of the best kept secrets of Chicago theatre and I’m very excited to be working with them.
  2. Speaking of comedy… Long Pork is still going strong. The Gentlemen are hard at work on their next show which is set to debut at the Chicago Sketchfest on January 13th 9:30 pm. Also they’ve been invited to preform in the Charleston Comedy Festival for which they are super excited and honored.
  3. Still doing the ChicagoNow thing. Yesterday I published a photo set of Wrigleyville during last Saturday’s Northwestern vs. Illinois Football game. You can check that out here. Tomorrow I’ll be publishing a holiday gift guide for photographers so check back then.

That’s all for today friends. I hope you all enjoy your turkey dinners!

General Photography


Journey To The End of The Night

Friend’s it feels like forever since I first started talking about it but my new blog on ChicagoNow has finally arrived! (Don’t worry I’m going to keep posting on Subism as well.) There were a number of reasons why it’s taken this long but the fact of the matter is it’s good to go at long last.

The focus and name has changed slightly, originally the name was going to be “Beyond The Loupe” a horrifically bad pun on Chicago’s Loop area downtown and an old school photographer’s Loupe for viewing negatives and slides in detail.

There were a couple of problems with this name:

  1. Too many people don’t know what a loupe is
  2. The pun was a bit cheesy even by ChicagoNow standards
  3. It sounded too much like “Beyond The Pedway” Tim Jahn’s awesome podcast about Chicago startups.

So I settled on Focal Points as it still manages to be a photography pun but does a much better job at conveying the idea of my work taking Chicago’s iconic landmarks and showing them in a new perspective which is something I am passionate about, sometime that I feel Subism is all about. You’ll hear more on this later as the site matures.

For my first two entries I’ve decided to focus on my experience over the weekend participating in Journey To The End of the Night which took place over the weekend. The first 18 photos from the set are now online with my account of the adventure and the remaining 18 to be posted on Friday.

My goal is to get into a M-W-F posting schedule over there, so there will be much more to talk about in the coming weeks and months. For now please check out the site and my first blog entry:

Journey To The End of the Night 2010 – Part 1 – Focal Points