The Viceroy Hotel

I've been volunteering with Heartland Alliance for about a year now and I still haven't worked with every group they help. The organization is working with so many communities it's unreal! I love shooting for them, it finally gives me the opportunity to work a different angle on the struggles that some people go through. When I started in documentary photography I had this idea to photograph something completely out of my comfort zone. I wanted to shoot the opposite of what I was accustomed to. That vague idea eventually led me to photograph drug addiction and mental illness on Lower Wacker Dr here in Chicago. I would never have guessed that 4 years later I would still be working with those subjects, but in an entirely new way. Instead of photographing the dirt and grit of addiction and substance abuse, I'm now telling the story of how these people are being helped and the constant struggle they go through to stay clean and healthy. The Viceroy Hotel in the West Loop was and probably still known for being a home to addicts and prostitutes. Heartland is now turning the old and terribly dilapidated hotel into a rehabilitation and housing clinic. My contact at Heartland gave me a call just a few days before I was leaving for a wedding conference in Las Vegas and asked if I could spare a few house to photograph the construction process before all of the original interior was gutted. Of course I jumped on the opportunity!