Chicago Reader, March 1st 2018: Towkio

March 7, 2018 in Photography

This shoot started with Vince Cerasani sending me one of the best texts ever, “I emailed you…Reader shoot…rapper…space suit…”!:)  I love Vince (& Jamie!!), I love the Reader, I love rap, I LOVVVVVVVE space!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When I was a kid, I can remember looking through a telescope into the night sky with my dad and brother thinking about what a mystery it all was and how small we are in comparison to the universe-MIND BLOWING!  As an adult, contemplating space can really help put things in perspective.  It’s a great reminder for me that the universe is big and life is short, day to day bullshit is insignificant, and it’s important to not only put good energy out into the world connecting with people and nature but to also be thankful and appreciate for what I have.💗💗💗

One of the things I’m most thankful for is the opportunity to create these crazy images I see in my head and to do it with people I LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!:)  An extra shout out to my favorite beach babes Amber & Isil who didn’t let me die while I was shooting Lake Michigan shelf ice for our moonscape-WARNING this is legit dangerous!!!!  Coincidentally, one of the last times the three of us were together on this beach we fell asleep watching shooting stars. #oneoflifesbest

I digress!  Shooting Chicago’s own Towkio was AWESOME; it was a pleasure having him in the studio and he was a fantastic collaborator!  His song, 2 Da Moon, was inspiration for our alien dance party.  Check out his recent trip into space as well as his latest album WWW.!!!

If Towkio and I had our high school senior portrait taken together, I imagine it would have looked something like this!  LOL!!!:

Michigan Moonscapes:

Studio Assistants: Tom Michas, Taylor Cairns
Location Assistants: Amber Halaka, Isil Cinar
Grooming: Karen Brody (Chicago Makeup Artists)
Retouching: Tom Michas (Tomikiss)
Alien(s): Taylor Cairns
And special thanks to Kathy Maloney!!!!!!!!:) 🙂 🙂

Ashley & Shawn: Separate Togetherness (The Engagement)

February 14, 2018 in Photography

When Ashley & Shawn shared with me the big news of their upcoming nuptials, I couldn’t wait to collaborate on fun engagement pics with the happy couple!  Ashley (knowing the way to my heart) presented me with some inspiration images, including a 1961 cover of Playboy and the concept of “Separate Togetherness”.  Add in inspiration from one of my favorite movies, Pillow Talk, a bunch of personal details pertaining to Ashley & Shawn, one of my favorite photographers, Colleen Durkin, as stylist/co-art director and the super fab hair & makeup stylings of Jezabel Carolina Rico and this is what you get!:) 🙂 🙂


Assistant & Retouching: Tom Michas (Tomikiss)
Styling: Colleen Durkin
Hair & Makeup: Jezabel Carolina Rico

Happy Birthday Mr. Henry and thank you!!!!!

February 8, 2018 in Photography, Uncategorized

Today I saw on Facebook, it’s Andrew Henry’s birthday-Happy Birthday Mr. Henry!*:)

Most people who know me and my work, know that I’m driven by concept (and lighting and color especially when used to communicate A CONCEPT!)-thank you Mr. Henry for teaching me something that has become part of my being!  Mr. Henry was the cool, young, handsome, English teacher at Okemos High School and my FAVORITE high school teacher.  In a time when teens loved their MTV, he brought in videos/movies for us to watch and discuss conceptually like Metallica’s One and Alfred Hitchcocks’s The Birds (🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤).  While we were watching The Birds, we discussed how visual choices (like color and lighting) MEAN SOMETHING and creative choices (in any media) communicate not just ideas, but also feelings!  Twenty-something years later, it’s something I think about constantly.💗💗💗💗💗

This past summer Mr. Henry came by my studio for a visit, it was such a pleasure to catch up and thank him in person for being inspiring!  I of course asked if we could snap a few pics!:

*please pardon all run on sentences, improper grammar, and overly expressive punctuation!:) 🙂 🙂
Assistant: Jacqueline Ayala
Retouching: Tom Michas (Tomikiss)

Chicago Magazine, Democratic Candidates for Governor: November 2017, December 2017, and January 2018

January 12, 2018 in Photography

A billionaire, a Kennedy, and a mathematician all walk into a……photo studio, separately, on different days, to be photographed for Chicago Mag by yours truly!:)  It was a pleasure meeting these three gentlemen and I appreciated the opportunity to encourage the legalization of marijuana as well as voicing to them my concerns about the changing color temperatures of our cities’ street lights (and this isn’t just me trying to fix the light at your party-check out what the AMA says!).  Click on the links below to read their interviews:

Chicago Magazine’s November Issue (JB Pritzker)

Chicago Magazine’s December Issue (Chris Kennedy)

Chicago Magazine’s January Issue (Daniel Biss)


Assistants: Jacqueline Ayala, Tom Michas
Retouching: Tom Michas (Tomikiss)
Grooming: Sophia Porter

Chicago Reader, December 21 2017: Hannibal Buress

December 21, 2017 in Photography

A few weeks ago Hannibal Buress came by the studio for a shoot, and he had the pleasure of sharing time with some of my favorite people!:)  The shoot was a great way to welcome Jamie Ramsay as the new Director of Photography at the Chicago Reader (HOORAY!!!!!!!!!) as well as a bittersweet farewell, as that amazing hand belongs to our special guest star, my former assistant/studio manager/zen master, Jacqueline Ayala (watch out NYC she’s coming for you!)!  Check out Hannibal’s interview as well as his upcoming show at the Lyric Opera House!

Assistants: Tom Michas, Taylor Cairns
Hand model: Jacqueline Ayala
Styling: KJ.
Grooming: Nasee Yehuda
Retouching: Tom Michas (Tomikiss)

Chicago Magazine, October 2017: Dr. Ruchi Gupta

October 19, 2017 in Photography

Because food sensitivity is something I personally struggle with, I was very excited when Chicago Magazine asked me to photograph food allergist Dr. Ruchi Gupta!  After watching Dr. Gupta’s super cute music video, I knew we were going to be able to create something fun and I couldn’t wait to meet her!  Special thanks to Tom & Jackie for bringing my vision of the giant peanut wall to life (LOVE YOU!!!!!) and an even bigger thanks to Chef Andy for cooking up that gorgeous red snapper!

Assistants: Jacqueline Ayala, Tom Michas
Retouching: Tom Michas (Tomikiss)

Chicago Reader, Sept 28 2017: Bill Morrison

September 29, 2017 in Photography

When I first moved to Chicago in 1996, I remember learning how Thursdays were a special day because that’s the day the Reader comes out.:)  Around that same time, I was playing with Type 55 negatives, not washing off the Polaroid chemicals to create texture and accelerate deterioration-one might say this was fantastic forethought and planning!  Inspired by watching some of filmmaker Bill Morrison’s work, I knew these fantastic old negs were the perfect pairing for our portrait of Bill for this week’s Chicago Reader cover!:)  You can check out his film Dawson City: Frozen Time screening this Thursday October 5 at Logan Center for the Arts!

Assistants: Jacqueline Ayala, Tom Michas
Retouching: Tom Michas (Tomikiss)


Chicago Magazine, August 2017: Jason Benetti

September 14, 2017 in Photography

Thanks to a VERY busy summer, I’m a little behind in blogging, but I couldn’t pass up telling you Jason Benetti is a very cool guy and it was such a pleasure shooting him for Chicago Magazine!:)  The day we shot was one of those sweltering 90+ degree days with lots of humidity and intermittent torrential downpours-but we had sun and blue sky at all of the right times!!!  From the moment we met, Jason was cracking jokes and I knew this was going to be a fun shoot regardless of the weather!  Contrary to popular belief, I actually have a TINY bit of White Sox knowledge (thanks Robbie V.!), but once I learned Mr. Benetti was from the Homewood-Flossmoor area-all I really wanted to talk to him about was the AWESOME pizza from the original Aurelio’s (the old oven and extra crispy is THE BEST!!!)!:)

Assistants: Jacqueline Ayala, Tom Michas
Intern: Samantha Lare Presser
Retouching: Tom Michas (Tomikiss)

Marketing News Magazine, June 2017: The 2017 AMA Gold Top 50 Report

June 2, 2017 in Photography

Gold on gold on gold!!!  We are definitely still finding glitter and sequins around the studio after this one; every time I see the little twinkle of light, it just reminds me how much I love shooting with Vince for Marketing News Magazine and collaborating with my AMAZING team!  Can we just take an extra moment to admire those gorgeous hands and that awesome cake?  The AMA Gold Top 50 Report is a list of the top 50 revenue-generating market research firms in the US; previously called the Honomichl report, I feel super lucky our cover story was after the name change!:)  Check out our super fun pics below!


Assistants: Jacqueline Ayala, Tom Michas
Model: Sarah Uchison
Food Stylist/Caterer Extraordinaire/She Does It ALL!: Andrea Donadio
Retouching: Tom Michas (Tomikiss)

Chicago Magazine, May 2017: Samantha Irby

May 22, 2017 in Photography

Would you believe this is my THIRD photo shoot with the AWESOME Samantha Irby for Chicago Magazine?!?!!!  I feel pretty lucky every time the phone rings with a job, but this one in particular!!!  I can’t rave about Samantha enough; her blog, Bitches Gotta Eat, and her most recent book, We are Never Meeting in Real Lifeare both LOL funny and MUST READS!!!!!  The first two times I photographed her in 2013, Sam and I were both experiencing pretty severe physical pain-it’s funny how empathy for pain can immediately make you feel connected to someone.  During both of those shoots, Samantha made me smile and laugh so much I almost forgot how I really just wanted to lay on the floor and cry; laughter is truly some of the best medicine!!!

Fast forward to April 2017, when Chicago Mag asked if I would drive to Michigan to photograph her-it was the perfect opportunity to ask two of my favorite babes (Andrea Donadio & Jacqueline Ayala) to roadtrip to Kalamazoo to photograph Samantha & then drive just a little further to visit Mom and Dad Predko!  So awesome to share my childhood home complete with Mom Predko’s famous margaritas and a little middle school nostalgia (thanks to Nick Gavrilides & Josh Lane for our awesome meal at Gracie’s!).  But let’s get back to Samantha Irby!!!! Did you hear she now has a development deal with FX for a series inspired by her book Meaty, and Abbi Jacobson from Broad City <swoon!> is one of the executive producers?!!!!!!  I CAN’T WAIT!!!!!!  💗 💗 💗 💗

Assistant: Jacqueline Ayala
Makeup: TaBetha Morrison
Driver/Favorite Roadtrip Partner: Andrea Donadio
Retouching: Sarah Crump