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)

Trixie Mattel & Brian Firkus: Two Birds

May 2, 2017 in Photography

Today is a very exciting day for country music!  Currently, my collection includes legends such as Dolly, Johnny, Hank (1 & 3), Patsy, and Loretta; as of today, Brian & Trixie join these master crooners!!!!!!!  I am SOOOO excited to promote the release of drag legend Trixie Mattel/Brian Firkus‘s FANTASTIC new album, Two Birds, now available on iTunes!!!!!!  As always, it was such a pleasure collaborating with the AMAZING Trixie on this super fun conceptual shoot!  Inspiration for the album art was drawn from 60s and 70s country albums with a little bit of “Green Acres” thrown in there too (so in love with those sets & Eva Gabor <sigh>!!!). Trixie is the kind of client I throw out all the stops for-this includes taking a machete to the park, asking the ex-husband for a favor, and bringing into the studio tall grass (I’m highly allergic to) with fragile fuzzy plumes that shed EVERYWHERE!!!!!!!  Don’t worry, I survived and I’m thrilled with our collaboration; check out our awesome new pics below and go give the album a listen!:)

Assistants: Jacqueline Ayala, Tom Michas
Intern: Jiaqi Li
Prop Assist: Amber Halaka
Fence: Emotive Reclaim, check out Rob’s AWESOME work here: website and Instagram
Retouching: Tom Michas (Tomikiss)
Special thanks: Robbie Vasquez III

Marketing News Magazine, April/May 2017: The Human Side of Social Media

April 27, 2017 in Photography

This super fun photo illustration is brought to you with many thanks to one of our favorite editorial clients, Marketing News Magazine!  When the amazing Vince emails me with a project and describes it as “weird/fun/I’m excited”, the only response could be YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  We had such a fun time creating and piecing together all of the different elements for this one-make sure to also click play on the animation!  An awesome day filled with some of my favorite people (including the best leg and hand models in town!) and fueled with only the BEST food!!!!!  Please bring me more of your weird and fun-I’M EXCITED!!!!!!!!!:)

Assistants: Jacqueline Ayala, Tom Michas
Costume Designer: Amber Halaka
My favorite hand model: Chris Martiniano
Snapchat model/the best legs in town: Jacqueline Ayala
Retouching: Tom Michas (Tomikiss)
Catering: Andrea (OMG the risotto!!!!) Donadio 

Michele Pred: My Body My Business

September 6, 2016 in Photography

A few months ago the lovely Megan Colleen McGlynn was so sweet to connect the AMAZING artist, Michele Pred, and I at a Girlsday event (thank you Megan!!!)!  I immediately fell in love with Michele’s work as I FULLY support the same feminist and pro-choice agenda!  Her current series, “Promote the General Welfare”, features vintage purses adorned with feminist themed neon text.  I suggested Ms. Pred come by the studio the next time she was in town to take some fun pics; I also wanted to get to know Michele better and hear more about her work!:)  Make sure you check out more of her art on her website:  Rumor has it the Vote purse may now be in the hands of one of our presidential candidates… something tells me its not Trump!!!:) 🙂 🙂


Assistant: Jacqueline Ayala, Tom Michas
Intern: Dolly Nguyen
Hair & Makeup: Karen Brody, Chicago Makeup Artists
Voting Booth Fabricator: Emily Franklin
Retouching: Sami (with a ♥ over the i) Hylla and Tom Michas (Tomikiss)