Teresa Córdova: Great Cities Institute

August 3, 2016 in Photography

I recently had the pleasure of photographing UIC’s Great Cities Institute Director, Teresa Córdova, who is also Professor of Urban Planning and Policy in the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, and affiliate of the Departments of Sociology and Gender and Women’s Studies-WOW!!!  One of the best parts of my job is meeting so many admirable and accomplished ladies!:)

Great Cities Institute is indeed pretty great; in the quest for improving the quality of life in Chicago, it’s metropolitan areas, and cities throughout the world, they use research to create solutions for urban problems.  You can learn more by visiting the lecture series on their website and they have an event coming up on September 15th, the 2016 UIC Urban forum Jobs and the Labor Force of Tomorrow: Migration, Training, Education.

Before I met Teresa Córdova I was told, “She’s very smart, you will like her!”  Both couldn’t be more true!:)  We all had a great time at the shoot; Teresa chatted with us about the awesome work Great Cities is doing, what it was like to live in the southwest, how much we all love Chicago, and she even turned us onto some great music to work to at the studio!!!  Thanks so much Teresa!!!:)


Assistant: Jacqueline Ayala, Tom Michas
Intern: Bailey LeCat
Hair & Makeup: Jamie Tannenbaum, Chicago Makeup Artists
Retouching: Tom Michas (Tomikiss)

Chicago Lawyer Magazine, May 2016: The Women Leading Big Law

June 29, 2016 in Photography

It was such a pleasure to meet and photograph these four awesome ladies for the cover of Chicago Lawyer Magazine, each of them an equity partner in their respective firms!  Citing the CL article, “…only 22.4% of all partners among responding firms are women.”-YIKES!!!  From left to right, I present to you four very inspirational women: Kerryann Haase Minton from Micheal Best & Friedrich, Lisa Scruggs from Duane Morris, Mary Wilson from Denton, and Linda Myers from Kirkland & Ellis. With my affinity for old movies, I particularly love Linda Myers’ anecdote about watching Adam’s Rib (1949) as a kid and being inspired by Katherine Hepburn’s strong feminist lawyer character!:) To read more about these awesome ladies, check out the article here!


Assistant: Jacqueline Ayala
Intern: Dolly Nguyen
Retouching: Sami (with a ♥ over the i) Hylla

Happy Father’s Day!!! (subtitle: If Trixie Mattel had daughters)

June 16, 2016 in Photography

I think it only makes sense to start out a Father’s Day blog post by telling everyone my dad is THE BEST (my mom too of course!)!  I am truly lucky to have amazing and supportive parents who constantly encourage me even when my ideas might be a little crazy!:) 🙂 🙂

Trixie Mattel/Brian Firkus and I are constantly brainstorming fun ideas for new photographs and we both wanted to honor dads this month.  The idea of shooting Brian as a non-Trixie character was too good to pass up!  After some extensive research, I found the perfect family of triplets for us to foster.  May I present Jackie, Roxy, and Dolly – 3 tough little gals that are looking better than ever after their trip to the hair salon!  Our set was inspired in part by the television show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood; I LOVE the details like the window frame with no window and the house plant behind it!:)  I wonder if my parents realized how much the “Neighborhood of Make-Believe” was going to influence my life!;)  Happy Father’s Day to all of the awesome dads out there (especially mine!!)!!!


Assistant: Jacqueline Ayala
Wardrobe Stylist: Sasha Hodges
Interns: Dolly Nguyen, Roxy Yang
Retouching: Jeff Whitlock

My Beyoncé Lovin’ Babes!

June 9, 2016 in Photography

A few weeks ago, some of my loveliest ladies dressed up to go see the amazing Beyoncé perform here in Chicago.  After seeing what they were planning to wear, I couldn’t help but build them a set! 💖💖💖💖💖


Retouching: Sarah Crump

Happy Trixie Easter!!!

March 25, 2016 in Photography

I think it’s pretty clear I want to spend ALL of my holidays with my favorite muse, Trixie Mattel!!!:) 🙂 🙂  I’m not sure if you have heard, but Trixie has moved to Hollywood to become an even bigger star!!!  In honor of the move, our latest shoot was inspired by vintage movie star promotional photographs combined with a little bit of creepy bunny to help celebrate the holiday!  Also, just for the record, rabbits are known to be herbivores and no baby chicks were harmed in the making of these photographs!  Hope you all have a Happy Trixie Easter!!!  XOXO!!!!

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Assistants: Jacqueline Ayala, Brian Gladkowski, & Tom Michas
Intern:  Travon Newbern
Prop Artist: Emily Franklin
Retouching: Sami (with a ♥ over the i) Hylla

IL Meetings + Events, Spring 2016: Debbie Sharpe

March 23, 2016 in Photography

I was super excited when IL M+E asked me to photograph a woman who loves Chicago, food, and music as much as I do!:)  Debbie Sharpe has quite the resumé as a self taught rock-n-roll caterer; luckily, she also shares her amazing food with the masses through her multiple Goddess and Grocer locations as well as Feast Restaurant (I think about their wasabi mashed potatoes probably a little too much!!).  It was truly a pleasure to spend a morning with her at the G&G Bucktown location chatting, drinking (GREAT) coffee, and of course taking pictures-Debbie Sharpe is AWESOME!!!  Keep an eye out for the newest Goddess and Grocer in Andersonville, scheduled to open on March 1!!!:)



Assistants: Jacqueline Ayala & Tom Michas 
Retouching: Sami (with a ♥ over the i) Hylla

2016: A Happy Trixie New Year!!!

December 31, 2015 in Photography

It’s been said, you are supposed to spend New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day in preparation for what you want to happen in the upcoming year.  There is nothing I want more than to spend the next year working with my favorite (& future favorite!!) creative collaborators!  Checkout this very special NYE shoot we did yesterday with one of my favorite creative babes, the ultra fabulous Trixie Mattel!!!:) 🙂 🙂  Wishing everyone the best for the new year!!!!!!!! XOXOXOXOX!!!!!!!!!

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Assistants: Brian Gladkowski & Tom Michas
Intern:  Travon Newbern
(You can’t ever have too much glitter & rhinestones) Prop Artist: Emily Franklin
Clock Fabricator/Problem Solver: Dane Larsen
Retouching: Sarah Crump

Chicago Magazine, December 2015: Joseph Wright, King Cannabis

December 3, 2015 in Photography

Medical marijuana is officially available in Illinois!!!!!  HOORAY!!!!!!!!!  I was very excited when Chicago Magazine asked me to photograph Joseph Wright, the Director of the Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program (and even more excited when I found out he is a young handsome lawyer with a super sharp suit!).  Also very intelligent, he appears to have a bright political future.  The thing I liked most about Joseph Wright: his passion for his job and excitement about helping people!  There is nothing cooler than getting to work with people that love what they do!:)

…Unfortunately, the list of approved conditions is very small, but this is the start of legislation I truly believe will assist and benefit so many people!!!!  If you’re interested – you can petition the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board mcpp.illinois.gov to recommend conditions to the state’s director of public health (can we all do this please????!!!!).   You can visit my site if you want to see more of the fun photos I love to make, and stay tuned for more!!! 🙂 


Assistant: Jacqueline Ayala
Intern: Bailey Lecat
Retouching: Sami (with a ♥ over the i) Hylla

Death Studios: a home for Glamorous Monsters and Cute Baby Kittens!

October 27, 2015 in Photography

A few months ago (when I was on the hunt for a Fluffy mask for my shoot with the dreamy David Cerda!), I had the pleasure of visiting Death Studios for the first time!  Jeff Death, the owner and master artist, is not just an incredible talent (all of these super detailed & creepy masks are hand painted!!) but also one of the nicest guys (he was surrounded by the the cutest baby kittens the first time we met!)!  I was excited to return with a few lights, a few extra hands, and some pretty colored paper to share some of his amazing artistry with you!

Assistant: Jacqueline Ayala 
Intern: Tom Michas 
Masks: Jeff Death, Death Studios
Portrait Retouching: Sarah Crump
Glamour Shot Retouching: Sami (with a ♥ over the i) Hylla


Ashley Aspiranti is moving….to the suburbs….of Virginia?!?!?!!!

September 30, 2015 in Photography

When my girlfriend Ashley told me she was going to be moving away from Chicago, she asked if I wanted to do a shoot before she (literally!) packed her bags-the answer, of course, YESSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!:)

I first met Ashley on the internet in 2005 when I was looking for a model for a Chicago Magazine photo shoot. At the time, she was fairly new to Chicago and her mom didn’t want her to come by my studio for a go-see fearing I might be a creepy photographer with ill intentions-LOL!!!!:)  Several years and several photo shoots later, I’m so happy to call this lovely lady a friend!  Wishing you the best in your next adventure girl-I know we will cross paths again soon!!!  XOXOXOX!!!!

Assistant: Jacqueline Ayala 
Intern: Tom Michas 
Retouching: Sami (with a ♥ over the i) Hylla