Photojournalism

Salvage One Wedding | Stephanie & Mike

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There's a special place in my photo filled heart for weddings without bridal parties. Don't get me wrong I love hanging out with all bridal parties! It's always a blast to be surrounded by ecstatic people who've been spending a great deal of time drinking. They always keep things lively and ridiculous! But on the exact opposite spectrum we have Stephanie and Mike. Their day was more like riding around Chicago in a limo with two friends, and it happened to be their wedding day. It was quite, it was beautiful, and it didn't even feel like work. In terms of a photographers dream, this was it. We had time to do anything we wanted, and since the weather took a turn for the worse on their engagement day, we wanted to showcase the Chicago Skyline, other than that. It was all candids and greatness.

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Another amazing test shot of Sam!

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2012 NATO Protests in Chicago

When I decided I wanted to photograph the NATO protests in Chicago, I made a decision to try my best to present an unbiased documentary of the weekend. Over the course of the 3 days (Saturday, May 19th through Monday, May 21st) I found myself getting further away from my original mindset. I know I can't be the only journalist who was unable to stayan un-opinionated bystander. In terms of the actual photographs, I believe I was able to stay pretty neutral. It's just that I saw many acts of violence, from a group yelling "peaceful protest" that then decides it's a great idea to try and charge a police barricade. But I never witnessed any case of police brutality or a case of a policeman using excessive force(despite how much it was reported from organizations like Occupy Chicago). Absolutely everything I personally witnessed and photographed showed me a side of the police force that I did not expect-  organized, tolerant and even understanding. In the situations where I saw force used, every single one of them included an organization named Black Bloc. Besides them, the groups that protested NATO were very peaceful and friendly. It's sad that a relatively small group gave the entire protest a bad name.  

 Day 1

Day one started off pretty slow. My buddy Spencer and I ran around trying to figure out where the protesters even were. Once we found them things got interesting.

The first incident happened when protesters were not allowed to turn onto a specific street. Once they began to get frustrated with the cops dictating which way they would go, the protesters decided to try and break through the police barricade. The Black Bloc, specifically, are the ones wearing black and hiding their face.

As night fell the protesters ended up at a stand still with the Chicago Police on Michigan Ave.

Before I called it a night, the protesters were allowed past the police barricade. But when they noticed a group of police officers on horses trying get in front of them, they linked arms and cut them off.

Day 2

Sunday's gathering was the largest by far and it started off very peaceful.

Even the Black Bloc members were feeling peaceful in the morning.

Once the protest began they were looking for any excuse to cause trouble or better yet a fight.

At the end of march, and after a few speeches were made, the crowd was asked to disperse. Of course no one moved. The Black Bloc members wanted to break through the lines of police offers and of course the police officers couldn't let them get close to the NATO meetings.

Unfortunately for myself and other members of the press that also refused to leave, we got caught up in the chaos. I will say that getting hit with riot shields and batons hurt just as much as you might imagine, but we all knew it was going to happen if we wanted to be there to cover the story.

After the crowd was finally pushed back and dispersed I followed a small group of guys headed back into The Loop where they heard there would be another march forming. This one headed to the Art Institute where there was going to be a special dinner planned for some of the delegates.

They were easy to find. You could hear the yelling and the chants from blocks away.

After hours of running around and yelling arriving at the Art Institute was a great way to relax for a minute.

Day 3

On my way to the start of a march and I ran into some out of state protesters reading the Red Eye's story of NATO.

Oksana and Xavier's Dubai Engagement Session

Oksana and Xavier's engagement came together in one of the most random ways yet! First of all I met Oksana a few years ago when we both hopped on a plane to Israel for a Birthright Israel trip. Basically it's the best thing any Jewish kid could ask for, the organization sends you to Israel to learn more about you're heritage in the most hands on way possible. While traveling throughout the country we got to know each other a lot better and of course we've stayed in touch over the years. When I mentioned on Facebook that I was headed to Abu Dhabi to shoot Kate and Joe's Engagement Session, Oksana messaged me with her great news! It turned out she had just gotten engaged and her and Xavier were living in Dubai. It worked out perfectly, I went into Dubai and met with the two of them and we were able to run around town and get some awesome photos. I know I can't wait to make it back there to see them again and see more of the ridiculously gorgeous scenery. I was there for just over a week and there's still so much more to do. Here's some of my favorites from their session!

My Best Friend Is Married & I Brought A Camera | Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina

The title says it all! My best friend, Eric, met the love of his life, Sam, while going through training in the military. He is in the Army Reserves and she's a full time Army girl. He's the first one out of our circle of close friends to get hitched so this was pretty important for all of us. It wasn't just about Eric and Sam, that was a pretty important part, but it was also about all of us getting together for one amazing weekend at Ocean Isle Beach in North Carolina. Of course I brought my camera with to capture all of the hilarious moments from the weekend. It was so much fun I can't stop laughing as I look back over the images. There's nothing like getting all of your best friends and family members together to party and celebrate for a few days. We forgot all about work and our normal responsibilities and we just loved every moment we had. That's what a wedding should be! Forget all about the details and the formalities. There's only one reason in my book to have a wedding, and it's to be surrounded by the people you love and care about. That's what I wanted to capture just the people and the moments that brought us all together. Here's a recap of the most ridiculous weekend of 2011!

We finished off the wedding day with a shot of the moon rising as the sun set.