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PhotoWalk: Ravenswood

I got a fancy new camera a few months ago. I took a class to learn the new, advanced functions of this camera, but was underwhelmed by the level of instruction. I learn best by doing, anyway.

The result: photowalks. A photowalk is what it sounds – I walk around a predetermined area taking pictures. There’s only one rule: I’m not allowed to review or edit photos while I’m out. I’ve found that’s the only way to keep from deleting pictures out of self-doubt.

Lately, I’m into textures. I took this camera with me to Seattle and was amazed at the detail it captures. I took several pictures of the Gum Wall and was impressed/repulsed with how I was able to document every last blob of gum. Since then, I look at walls anew. Could I capture every crevice, every crack?

Ravenswood is a nearby street split down the middle by the elevated train tracks of the Metra. Each side features retaining walls of wood, metal, and stone. I set out to document. Below are the (resized) results:

I love how the rusty retaining wall behind the leaves could almost be treebark

Many colors of rust

These leaves were so vivid


This tenacious little guy was growing out of a rock

Post with rusty nail

Chipped-paint fire hydrant


In Which I’m a Smidge Vain

Look, its me!

At the end of April, I worked with the lovely and talented Gretchen Kelley to produce these headshots. We had a beautiful (if slightly windy) day to work with, so we set out about her neighborhood here in Chicago and took some pictures.

At first, I was concerned my inner-awkwardness would win out. The last time I had portraits done was Senior Year of High School, and, despite my mothers protestations to the contrary, I wasn’t too thrilled with how those turned out. Since then, I haven’t been the solo focus of a stranger with a fancy camera.

Gretchen, however, was a complete doll. We chatted the whole time and I was perfectly at ease.

I received the final images last Friday, and I had to share – both the photos and the backstory (there is always a backstory).

As we know, I met my boyfriend via Online Dating. While I was initially putting my profile together, I realized that I didn’t have any photos of myself that I really liked. I know this sounds prissy, but – from what I’ve seen at least – everyone is their own worst critic when it comes to photos. Somewhere in the process, I considered enlisting professional help.

I looked online and made a few calls. When I explained that the photos would be for use in an online dating profile, I was excited to hear that several of the photographers had received such requests before and knew some tricks to keep the final images more “casual, girl-about-town” and less “stiff glamour shot.”

[Note: this is by no means meant to imply that everyone who does online dating has professional pictures. Hardly. I’m definitely not saying it is a requirement to have a stellar profile. It’s merely something I looked into to soothe my own insecurities.]

Insecurities aside, my inner miser balked at paying too much for these photos. Enter, YouSwoop. I got a great deal to work with Gretchen.

But then, of course, I met Will before I scheduled my photo session because, well, that’s always how these things work out, isn’t it? I considered other options for using the pre-paid deal (would my mother like portraits of my sister and me for Mother’s Day?) but then decided that you lovely blog-readers may want to see the person behind the writing here.

Aren’t I lovely?