A two week stay in Chicago was the perfect reason to FINALLY go back to visit my alma mater. I haven’t spent any real time there since…well, since I was paying to be there. Seeing campus in its deserted state let me take all the time I wanted. And made me remember the first time I fell in love with the place as a senior in high school.

Annie’s Arch. Ok, it’s technically the Weber Arch.

 

My First Dorm: North Mid Quads

 

My Second, Third, and Forth Dorm: “The Plex”

 

So many memories…

 

It is what you think it is. Thank God for this place.

 

The Black House Porch

 

In four years, I set foot in Deering Meadow once. But I walked by it at least 4 times per day.

 

The Library

 

Tech: In the pantheon of uninviting structures, Northwestern’s main engineering building manages to barely edge out the Death Star

 

Tech Lobby: this is about as inviting as it gets. And it hasn’t changed in 20 years.

 

Shakespeare Garden. Probably one of the least well-known but most beautiful gems on campus. I couldn’t remember how to get there and had to look it up on a map.

 

I spent more time here than anywhere else in college. I worked here all four years, and in my senior year I clocked 30-40 hours per week. Many of the people I’m now closest to were right next to me. This is where I moved tables and chairs for money, where I was one of the Center Managers, met celebrities, did never-ending problem sets, where I had an office in the basement, opened my grad school acceptance letters (and cried with my mother on the phone as I shared the news), pulled finals week all-nighters, and saw the OJ verdict. When I have fond memories about my college years, its a pretty safe bet that Norris is at the heart of them.

 

I think I made it to Chicago maybe twice in all of college. Great city. But I didn’t find out until I’d already left.

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During a recent trip to NYC, I happened to be working with this view. The Freedom Tower. And then a storm came along, which meant a 10-minute work break to get a few shots. The clouds kept getting more and more dramatic, until my 10-minute break had become an hour. The mental respite was more than welcome…nothing stills my mind the way photography does.

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There really isn’t very much I can add beyond what’s conveyed in my smile in the last picture. I never would have imagined that I would get another chance to photograph Barack Obama. The first time was on August 17th, 2008. On that day, I was doing only my second professional photo shoot, sweating through three layers of clothing, and more focused on giving then-Senator Obama a direct order than securing a picture with the candidate (mission accomplished on the barking orders thing, in case you were wondering). But no picture in ’08. Here’s to waiting 7.5 years to undo the results of ridiculously poor judgment: this time…”I need you to take a couple steps back, Mr President”…AND a picture. Shout out to moms for earnestly imploring me to get a photo this time around.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Plan? For what? Not a single hotel was booked. No tourist attractions were researched. Destinations uncertain. Just 5 days and south on 95.

Charlottesville was the first stop, mostly because I was tired. A quick, damp tour of UVA’s campus reminded me of my last visit, nearly 25 years ago. North Carolina was *completely* skipped…even on the way back…and Charleston (and all 82 of its Fahrenheit degrees) was second on the list. Much of my family is from its outskirts, and taking in the sanitized southern charm of Charleston’s historic district always creates conflicting emotions. One of the positives: the food. We finally got as far south as Savannah, and if I had nothing to get home to, I might still be there photographing oak trees dripping with Spanish moss. Beautiful. But the most memorable part of the trip was rediscovering why road trips can be so great: hours and hours in a car without worrying about where you need to get to next = fantastic bonding time.

 

Wormsloe Historic Site (formerly Wormsloe Plantation), Savannah, GA. The family who owned these 822 acres still lives in a private area of the grounds in a home that site guides still refer to as “the big house.”

 

Charleston Old Slave Mart Museum – Former marketplace for auctioning slaves.

 

Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church

 

 

 

 

 

The Lawn – University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA

 

 

 

 

 

DSLR Selfie

 

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I always say that I never shoot weddings. Which is true. But when my cousin Martin called and asked me to do a tandem shoot of a bride and her bridesmaids getting ready for a wedding…welllll…that doesnt really count. Right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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