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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

Wildflowers

This tenacious little guy was growing out of a rock

Post with rusty nail

Chipped-paint fire hydrant

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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?