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Friday, October 26, 2018

Photographer Jen Jansen has her Beast in control

Posted By on 10.26.18 at 11:38 AM

Jen Jansen with "the Beast," a Deardorff 11x14 studio camera from the 20s, made in Chicago - ISA GIALLORENZO
  • Isa Giallorenzo
  • Jen Jansen with "the Beast," a Deardorff 11x14 studio camera from the 20s, made in Chicago

Remember that botched restoration of the Ecce Homo fresco in a Spanish church a few years ago, which became a meme known as "Potato Jesus"? Photographer Jen Jansen has a copy of it displayed in front of her Bucktown studio, where it serves as a cautionary tale of what the ravages of time—and inexperienced restorers—can do to a picture.

"Potato Jesus" may be funny, but Jansen is very conscious that damaged heirloom family photos are not a laughing matter: "People bring me really old pictures and get a very emotional reaction when they see them restored," she says. "It's like they're keeping a member of their family alive."

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Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Why the Wndr Museum isn't a ‘selfie factory’: a defense of the pop-art pop-up

Posted By on 10.02.18 at 06:00 AM

Photographer Elizabeth De La Piedra in one of the "infinity rooms" - ISA GIALLORENZO
  • Isa Giallorenzo
  • Photographer Elizabeth De La Piedra in one of the "infinity rooms"

This summer brought us a new, Instagram-friendly kind of gallery/"museum": the "pop-art pop-up," you could call it, a traveling cluster of interactive installations with lots of eye candy—and lots of selfie and Instagram possibilities—designed to be easily enjoyed by any kind of audience, art-world outsiders and children included. The first to blow in, Happy Place, arrived in May, "a new traveling circus—the Instagram trap," the Reader's Ryan Smith called it (a slideshow by Reader photo editor Jamie Ramsay is here). The "experience" 29Rooms, promoted by the media company Refinery 29, made its appearance in July. Now there's a third, more ambitious pop-up: the Wndr Museum.

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Monday, October 1, 2018

Lala Lala’s very sold-out record-release show, in photos

Posted By on 10.01.18 at 04:26 PM

bsowacke_lalalala_006.jpg

On Friday night, Chicago indie-rock outfit Lala Lala—the brainchild of front woman Lillie West—played the Empty Bottle to celebrate the release of their Hardly Art debut, The Lamb. Photographer Brittany Sowacke was on hand at the very sold-out show to capture the excitement and positive energy—it definitely seems like Lala Lala will be headlining clubs way bigger than the Bottle soon. Opening were Dehd (one of whose front-line members, Emily Kempf, played bass on The Lamb) and Choral Reefr.

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Monday, September 17, 2018

Riot Fest 2018 Sunday [PHOTOS]

Posted By on 09.17.18 at 02:47 PM

Run the Jewels closed out Riot Fest 2018.  We have the live photos and a review by Jamie Ludwig of Sunday sets from Blondie and The Avengers.  Photos by Danny O'Donnell

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Riot Fest 2018 Saturday [PHOTOS]

Posted By on 09.17.18 at 02:00 PM

Day two of Riot Fest saw a range of acts from hometown, garage pop wonders Twin Peaks to iconic Elvis Costello.  Check out the highlights of the Saturday performances from photographer Danny O'Donnell. 

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Riot Fest 2018 Friday [PHOTOS]

Posted By on 09.17.18 at 01:42 PM

The first day of Riot Fest 2018 included calls for justice from Pussy Riot.  Here's a look back in photos by Danny O'Donnell. Saturday here.  Sunday here.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Sunday’s Kultura Festival filled Logan Square Emporium with the food and arts of the Philippines

There's a lot more to the culture than Spam, you know.

Posted By on 08.21.18 at 08:14 PM

Rapper and spoken-word artist Ruby Ibarra performs. - PAT NABONG
  • Pat Nabong
  • Rapper and spoken-word artist Ruby Ibarra performs.

This past weekend, Emporium Logan Square was turned into an ephemeral Filipino neighborhood that featured Filipino-American chefs, artists, dancers, activists, and performers.

Where other ethnicities have distinct neighborhood identified with them—Chinatown, Greektown, Pilsen and La Villita—"We don’t have our exact community space. . . . We don't have a Filipino town," says Natalia Roxas, a photographer behind the food and culture website Filipino Kitchen. Four years ago "in a drunken spur" Roxas came up with the thought of a Filipino-specific event. The Kultura Fest blossomed into something bigger as she talked to people in Chicago's Filipino-American community.


"It's that need of having a community space and coming together to really appreciate and highlight all these people that are hidden in different kitchens and difference scenes," Roxas says. "It feels like our community here is struggling with that."

But Sunday's festival drew people from all over the midwest as well as a chef from Portland, Oregon, and artists from the Bay Area. Filipino pride was palpable in the room as Filipino-American artist Ruby Ibarra rapped about the beauty of having brown skin.

The event's success has inspired Roxas to try to branch out to other cities next year. "We want to be able to serve and create this space for underresourced communities throughout the country. I think this is a really good platform to highlight different talents," she says. v

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Friday, August 17, 2018

ThoughtPoet is on a mission to capture the beauty in black Chicago

Posted By on 08.17.18 at 01:00 PM

ThoughtPoet self-portrait - CHRIS THOUGHTPOET
  • Chris ThoughtPoet
  • ThoughtPoet self-portrait

"I like to describe myself as a creative rather than a photographer," says Christopher "ThoughtPoet" Brown. "Sometimes I feel like the label is limiting. I write, I act, and I try to do more with my photos than just capture moments."

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Thursday, August 9, 2018

Lollapalooza beyond the stage [PHOTOS]

Posted By on 08.09.18 at 11:39 AM

You've seen the artists: Taylor Bennett's pyrotechnics, LL Cool J's dancers, St. Vincent's avant-garde stage presence. But away from the stage, there's another show that photographer Alison Green worked to capture, one of people looking after other people—in quiet moments and in moments of exhaustion—and even an inflatable whale.

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Friday, June 15, 2018

Photographer Pat Nabong climbed to new heights for our cover story—literally

Posted By on 06.15.18 at 06:00 AM

Photographer Pat Nabong (in gray shirt and black pants) top rope climbs to shoot Abhijeet Rane and Jforpaydotcom, while Siyang Huang is belaying Nabong, below.
  • Photographer Pat Nabong (in gray shirt and black pants) top rope climbs to shoot Abhijeet Rane and Jforpaydotcom, while Siyang Huang is belaying Nabong, below.
This week's issue features photographer Pat Nabong's sweeping photographs of Brooklyn Boulder's Chicago's annual Out to Climb event.

Nabong elected to take her shots while aerial—top-rope climbing as she documented the event, which raised money for the Howard Brown Health Center.

The photojournalism fellow at City Bureau—whose has also done high-risk assignments like documenting protests in the Philippines—proves that neither a fear of falling nor water cannons can get in her way.  (More of  her work can be seen at patnabong.com.)

Here are her answers to some questions about her work:

How long have you been climbing and how did you get started?


I've been climbing regularly for almost five months now. My friend introduced me to climbing and I was hooked. I had only climbed once before when I was a little kid and I was so terrified, I couldn’t even rappel down.

Have you photographed while climbing before and do you have other experiences shooting from tough vantage points?

Pat Nabong
  • Pat Nabong
This is my second time photographing while climbing and my first time top roping while photographing. The first time I did it, I was photographing people who were bouldering, wherein people climb shorter walls without ropes. I had to climb to the top and hang there for a minute while photographing the climber below me. Those two experiences are so far the most unstable and scariest for me, because even after climbing for five months, I’m still paranoid about the possibility of falling. It’s something that I haven’t quite gotten over yet.
Other than that, the most challenging vantage points I’ve shot from was probably in the middle of a protest in the Philippines. When I was starting out in photojournalism, I covered a lot of protests there, some of which were quite chaotic. One time, I was taking pictures near clashing protesters and police. Water cannons were being fired. I’ve also experienced taking pictures inside a claustrophobic mine.

Why is climbing meaningful to you personally?

Climbing got me through a lot of hard times and taught me lot about life. Through practicing, I learned how to take calculated risks, stop overthinking, overcome my fears, and be more resilient— lessons that were applicable to life outside the climbing gym, too.

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