The Photographer as Illusionist

I just finished reading a magical book: Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus. It's one of those novels which transports one to a dream world where things feel comfortable and foreign at the same time. It was a dream from which I didn't want to wake, and sometimes I feel I still haven't. I will not go into detail about this fine book here (plenty has already been written about it) but I do want to say that it got me thinking on many, many levels.

I just finished reading a magical book: Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus. It's one of those novels which transports one to a dream world where things feel comfortable and foreign at the same time. It was a dream from which I didn't want to wake, and sometimes I feel I still haven't. I will not go into detail about this fine book here (plenty has already been written about it) but I do want to say that it got me thinking on many, many levels.

This photograph seemed eminently appropriate for this post. First of all, we have the magician/illusionist. But since this was made at the cabalistic House on the Rock in Spring Green, WI it felt more than "right" for a post discussing Erin Morgenstern's book, The Night Circus."

One of those levels pertains to photography and photographers.

Throughout the book, we are challenged to consider the artifice and reality of illusion. As I tripped my shutter over the past few days, this concept rattled around in my head. Then in a moment of realization, I saw the photographer as an illusionist. We see the world around us. We interpret it through our unique filters and aesthetic. We then present it back to the world transformed yet the same. Every time we make a photograph, we create an illusion of the subject which is a wholly singular presentation of it. Certainly, no two photographs can ever be the same because no two photographs can ever be taken at precisely the same moment in time. But more importantly, no two photographs can ever be the same because they are necessarily unique constructs of the individual photographers making the images. One of my favorite things to do is go on a photo walk with other photographers. We walk the same paths. We see the same sights. But when we look at our final images it is as if we weren't even in the same zip code. What feels familiar in my photographs looks oddly foreign in my friends'.

In short, every time we make photographs we create our own illusions. We conjure them from slices of time and sprinklings of light. They are our achievements. They carry our stamp and signature.

So even though The Night Circus is not a book about photography, it is a book about the way our illusions--our creations--relate to us and the world around us. It is about the many paths we take to get to them. It is about our dreams manifest.

To learn more about The Night Circus, please check out Erin Morgenstern's website at erinmorgenstern.com.

My Afternoon with a Steampunk Ringmaster

[flickr id="5941006591" thumbnail="medium" overlay="true" size="small" group="" align="center"] I had an absolutely marvelous day photographing a local artist, Diana Westwood, who is a living statue. On the afternoon we went out, she wore her Steampunk Ringmaster costume and it was fantastic! (Check out her Facebook page for more info about her and her work.)

While walking to one of her usual performance spots on Michigan Ave., it was like walking with a celebrity. She got all kinds of looks, glances, and curious double-takes from the people we passed on the street. [flickr id="5941005959" thumbnail="medium" overlay="true" size="small" group="" align="center"]  It was a great experience to watch the working process of someone so dedicated to her craft. Once we arrived at her spot, I melted into the background and just started observing and shooting. I was fortunate enough to hear the many complimentary comments from people as they stopped and enjoyed Diana.

[flickr id="5941006393" thumbnail="medium" overlay="true" size="small" group="" align="center"]

I was also able to capture some great reactions from the gathered crowd, such as this woman who wasn't quite sure what to make of a living statue:

[flickr id="5941006201" thumbnail="medium" overlay="true" size="small" group="" align="center"]

As a bonus, we had a chance to stop at the new Marilyn statue where I caught a shot of a living statue admiring a statue statue:

[flickr id="5941567090" thumbnail="medium" overlay="true" size="small" group="" align="center"]

Again, I wanted to thank Diana Westwood for the opportunity to tag along and enjoy her work.

 

Published in JPG Magazine

[caption id="attachment_2771" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="My Photo, Sky Lines, was published in issue 26 of JPG Magazine"]Sky Lines[/caption] I'm thrilled to announce that my photograph, Sky Lines, was published in issue 26 of JPG Magazine. It can be found as the table of contents page.

JPG Magazine, as described on their website, "is for people who love image-making without attitude. It's about the kind of photography you get when you love the moment more than the camera. It's for photographers who, like us, have found themselves sharing their work online, and would love to see that work in print." I've been involved with JPG Magazine for several years now and have been quite impressed with the high quality of the photographers who make up the vibrant community.

To learn more about the site and the magazine, you can visit them at JPGMag.com.

To visit my profile on their site, you can go to JPGMag.com/people/CarusoPhoto.

And finally, for more information on issue 26, please visit the JPG Magazine Issue 26 web page.

Eye Contact

Eye Contact I was on a photo shoot for a good friend of mine, Megan Owdom-Weitz, who is a designer and fabric printer. The shoot was to document her new collection and fashion show at a local gallery. In between photographing the models, I happened to notice this model, Michele, preparing for her shots by using the natural light streaming in through the window. I grabbed my second camera and managed to make a few frames before I had to return to the business at hand.

Three Pieces of Photographic Advice I've Received

Recently, one of my contacts from Flickr sent me a message asking how he could become a better photographer. He wrote, in part:

Ever since I started to take pictures myself, I've tried to take "good" ones. But it's not as easy as one might think. So I wonder how one can learn it. Is it just trial and error and educating the eye? Is there a certain education one can go through? What would be a good/a possible way to become a professional?

As I began writing back to him, my response began to grow much larger than I initially thought. I also noticed that my response might make for a good blog post, so here it is:

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I agree with you that making good photos is never as easy as it may seem. Sure, it's easy to point a camera and press the shutter, but it's not easy to make a "good" photograph. In my opinion, there are many elements that need to converge resulting in a shot for which we can be proud.

Certainly an effective photo begins with good technique. Understanding the tool that is your camera is important. Understanding the concepts of photography--the different effects achieved by altering shutter speed and aperture, for example--are important. Understanding the strengths and weakness of wide angle and telephoto lenses is important. Remember, too, that shooting with the latest or most expensive camera or lens doesn't automatically make one "better." The camera is a means to a photograph, not the photograph itself. Amazing photos can be shot on the latest DSLR or the most humble toy camera.

As important as technique may be, a good photo is much more than JUST technique. I feel a strong personal vision is at the heart of a good photo. One uses technique to bring this vision to life. So what encompasses this vision? It's the way you see the world: the subject choices you make, the way you choose to compose those subjects, and the way you use your camera to capture those subjects.

Certainly, there are many photographers who attend school to learn the craft of photography. It's a great way to learn about many of the nuances of the medium. But it's not the only way. I feel a strong photography eduction can be achieved on one's own. The most important way to get to where you want to be is to immerse yourself in photography. Look at as many photographs as you can, in as many different styles as possible. Peruse Flickr and other photo sites. Read books on photography AND on other photographers. Visit museums and galleries. While you're taking in all these photographs, make sure you are looking at them actively. In other words, study them. If you like a photo, think about WHAT you like about it. If you don't like one, what is it that you're not connecting with. Eventually, you will begin to see a pattern developing regarding your tastes.

But of course, all your studying of photographs shouldn't take place in a vacuum. From day one, just start making photographs, and make a lot of them. One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was to make sure you have a camera with you at all times...and use it. It can be an SLR, a digital point and shoot, a disposable film camera, even the camera on your phone: just so long as you have one with you and you use it. Becoming a photographer doesn't happen by osmosis. Just having a camera at your side or in your pocket doesn't get exposures onto the film or the sensor. So start shooting and make a habit of it.

The second piece of important advice I received was to not be afraid of making bad photographs. We can't learn what our vision is by not experimenting. And when we experiment, we necessarily will make photos that don't work. In order to make "good" photos, we need to make a lot of bad ones. This is part of our education. You will begin to notice the more photos you make, the more you begin to see the world photographically. When this happens, it is a revelation you will carry with you each time you put camera to eye.

Finally, you need to be true to your own aesthetic and vision. Shoot what excites you, what you can be passionate about. Too often I see photographers burn out because they shoot what they think other people will like, what they think should sell, or what they think is "important." Ultimately, they ignore their own passions and interests in favor of what they (incorrectly) believe to be "right." The only right subject is the subject that is right for you.

Sorry if this was a bit long winded and didactic, but like I said, I love talking photography with other photographers. If you have any other questions, please feel free to drop me a message.

The Official Launch of CarusoPhoto.Info, John Caruso's Photography Blog

Welcome to the official launch of CarusoPhoto.Info, the new home for my photography blog! From the beginning of my blogging experience, I was using Wordpress.com. The blog was found at carusophoto.wordpress.com. Recently, I decided to move my blog to a dedicated web address, and so I chose CarusoPhoto.Info. I feel this will be a perfect companion to my main website, CarusoPhoto.com. Please note that I have kept the old blog active so that any links to specific posts will not be broken. However, I will no longer be posting to that blog. CarusoPhoto.Info is where the action is now.

I will maintain the same blogging philosophy on this new blog. I will still be posting semi-daily photos. I will still have information on upcoming shows, events, and other tid-bits. I will also still make posts on random thoughts and musings.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment in the comments section. Or, to contact me directly, you can send a message to john@carusophoto.com.

For those of you who were RSS subscribers to the old site, please remember to update your feed settings to continue receiving blog updates.

Thanks for visiting. I look forward to seeing you here at CarusoPhoto.Info.

Cheers,

John Caruso

This Weekend in Geneva

[caption id="attachment_1281" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="The crowds enjoyed the beautiful weather at the Geneva Art Fair last summer. I hope to see you there this weekend."][/caption]

What a summer it has been! I am so happy that I have been able to visit with so many people at the art shows this summer. One of my favorite things about doing these shows is the fact that I have an opportunity to talk photography and art with all you knowledgeable people. It is very exciting for me.

I am also glad that people are responding to the two new photo sizes I am offering this year: 4x6 prints matted or matted & framed to 8x10, and the big 16x24 prints matted & framed (only) to 24x32. Of course, my traditional sizes are still available as well.

Coming off of two very strong shows in Evanston and St. Joseph (MI), I am excited to continue the run at one of my favorite shows, the Geneva Arts Festival. This will be my fourth summer in Geneva, and I hope to see many of you who attended every year.

Here, then, are the specifics for this weekend:

The Geneva Arts Festival July 24 & 25, 2010 On Third Street Geneva, IL 10 am - 5:00 pm

Geneva, a chic and charming historic town located on the Fox River, will celebrate its ninth Annual Fine Arts Fair in 2010. Its prestigious reputation of offering a superb selection of fine art by renowned artists and cutting-edge newcomers attracts beginning and avid collectors.

Presented by the Chamber of Commerce, the show is tucked along shady streets among 100+ specialty shops located in Victorian-style homes and century-old buildings. A "hands on" kids art area, awards for emerging and seasoned artists along with warm small-town hospitality, offer a picture-postcard setting for this juried art celebration.

Of course, as always, if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me at John@CarusoPhoto.com. And don't forget that I am once again participating in the Capture My Chicago project. This project seeks out the best photographs made in, around, and about Chicago. The photos are voted on by the Capture My Chicago on-line community, with the best images published in a beautiful  coffee table book. I was fortunate to have several images published last year, and I would be proud to be included again this year. For more information, please visit my profile page at http://www.capturemychicago.com/users/CarusoPhoto.

I look forward to seeing you very soon!

Cheers,

John

e-mail: John@CarusoPhoto.com web: www.CarusoPhoto.com

John Caruso (CarusoPhoto) at Krasl Art Fair (St. Joseph, Michigan)

I have been having a marvelous time connecting with everyone who has been coming out to support the arts this summer. Thank you to everyone who has stopped by my booth to take a look, to chat, or to purchase a photograph. I truly enjoy meeting each and every one of you.
This weekend I am headed east for my first out-of-state show. I will be in the lake-front town of St. Joseph, Michigan, just a lovely car-ride away from Chicago through some beautiful scenery. I am thrilled to be a part of this show that boasts many fine artists from all across the country. It will be a very special weekend indeed.
Here, then, are the specifics for this weekend:

Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff July 10 & 11, 2010 707 Lake Boulevard Saint Joseph, MI 49085 10 am - 5:00 pm
"Best Artists, Best Sales" is the commitment of the art fair committee for the 49th annual Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff to be held on July 10 and 11, 2010 come rain or shine.
The Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff attracts crowds of 70,000, but if you are visiting from out of town, no worries. There are ample hotels, motels and bed & breakfasts in the area plus shopping in St. Joseph's quaint downtown as well as Benton Harbor. Come join us for a relaxing, fun weekend, where you are sure to find the art you are seeking.

The venue, atop the bluff of Silver Beach, provides one of the most spectacular views of Lake Michigan coupled with the high quality of artists, truly earns the Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff its status as one of the top 100 art fairs in the nation. Sunshine Artist Magazine consistently ranks the Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff in the top 200 fine art and design shows nationally. The show was also included in the top 180 art fairs on the Harris List of fine art/fine craft fairs.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me at John@CarusoPhoto.com. And don't forget that I am once again participating in the Capture My Chicago project. This project seeks out the best photographs made in, around, and about Chicago. The photos are voted on by the Capture My Chicago on-line community, with the best images published in a beautiful  coffee table book. I was fortunate to have several images published last year, and I would be proud to be included again this year. For more information, please visit my profile page at capturemychicago.com.

I look forward to seeing you very soon!

Cheers,

John

e-mail: John@CarusoPhoto.com web: www.CarusoPhoto.com

Back up on the Roof and Other Places at The John Hancock Tower

I am just thrilled that I had the opportunity to go back up on the roof of the John Hancock tower yesterday. They are doing an update to their popular Spinner for which I made the photos about two years ago (see the posts, Excitement at 1000 Feet and It Was as cool as I Thought). So up I went into the glorious afternoon sky to make the shots that will become a new souvenir piece. As if that wasn't enough excitement at the Hancock for one day, later that evening I returned to the observatory to make night time panorama shots for their new telescopes. These will be companions to the day time panoramas I made a little while ago (see Panoramas for the John Hancock Observatory). I finally saw these new telescopes in action, and I have to say they are amazing. First of all, they are electronic. Rather than a traditional telescope to which you put your eye, these are screens mounted to a base. You point the telescope where ever you want to look and the live image is on the screen. You can then zoom in or out at your heart's content. On the screen, there are boxes that pop up highlighting points of interest. To learn more about these sites, simply click a button and the info comes up on the screen. But that's not all...you can press a button and choose to see either a day time view or a night time view. So, say for instance you are up in the observatory and a cloud rolls in, you can still see precisely what is there. Or if you are visiting at night, you can click on the day view and see what the city looks like under sun shine. Similarly, day time visitors can get a feel for the marvelous views from the Observatory under the stars. I am proud to have been chosen to be the photographer that provided those day and night time panorama views for these amazing telescopes.

If you get the chance, I highly recommend visiting the John Hancock Observatory. The views are simply beautiful and can't be beat. For more information about the Observatory, you can visit their website, JohnHancockObservatory.com.

I Can't Wait for the New Season to Begin

I am excited, excited, and even more excited about the beginning of the summer art fair season. I can't wait for the weekend of the 22nd of this month when I will be at the Riverside Arts Fair in Riverside, IL. This past weekend, we walked the show in Elmhurst. We spent time visiting with several of our art friends and had a nice time just enjoying everyone's work. However, as it does every year, walking that first show just really hammers home the fact that the season is about to burst on the scene.

Sure, I have some matting and framing yet to do. However, that is a fun time for me--particularly this early in the year--because I get to see my new pieces getting ready for their debut. And speaking of new pieces, I have a lot waiting in the wings this year. Look for these, among others, at the Riverside show in a few weeks:

[caption id="attachment_2287" align="aligncenter" width="200" caption="Unheeded"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2288" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Yin-Yang"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2289" align="aligncenter" width="200" caption="Red Door, Chinatown"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2290" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Lean"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2291" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Lucky Cat"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2296" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="You Don't Mess with Rover"][/caption]

I hope to see you all at some point this summer. As always, I'm looking forward to a fun year!

If you have any questions about my schedule or my photographs, or if you need any further information, please do not hesitate to send me an e-mail at john@carusophoto.com. You can also visit my website, CarusoPhoto.com, for more information.

Cheers!

Why I'm Not Continuing My Second Year of My Project 365

Whew. That was a difficult title to write. Yes, I have decided to discontinue the second year of my Project 365/Photo-A-Day endeavor. It is a decision I didn't arrive at lightly, glibly, or with any sense of ease. In the end, I made the choice based upon what is best for me and my photography. When I started this project a year and 100+ days ago, my goal was simple: I wanted to learn about my relationship with photography. I wanted to push myself, stretch myself, and give myself the opportunity to grow as a photographer. Based on what I learned throughout the process, I feel the endeavor was a success. I tried new techniques. I tried new cameras. I gave myself permission to experiment. And most importantly, I allowed myself to fail.

One of the biggest advantages to doing a Project 365 is that it provides one with the permission to not have to make a “masterpiece” every time one presses the shutter. As an eager photographer who always strives to make the best photograph possible, this was an important--and difficult--lesson to learn. But learn it I did. Mind you, that doesn't mean that I don’t always try to do my best. In fact, being open to failure actually freed me up to being open for success. I've learned fear of failing can be a very stifling force. By not being afraid of failing, you automatically become not afraid of trying. And trying is the main component of learning. In that respect, the Project 365 has helped me as a photographer.

“So,” one may ask, “why did you stop?” The answer is simple: I began to stagnate. At the end of the first year, I was still invigorated by my Project 365. I was still getting a lot out of it. However, I noticed a shift in my thinking the past month or so. I began shooting just for the sake of “making my picture for the day.” I wasn’t pushing myself any longer. I wasn’t growing. I was just making a picture for the sake of the project. I began to feel like I was merely fulfilling a daily commitment. The joy was gone. In an ironic twist, I realized I began to shoot less because I would just shoot to make my daily quota, and not shoot for the love of photography. As soon as I realized that, I knew I had to take a close look at my motivation.

So here I am. I have decided that my post on April 14th would be my last. Appropriately enough, it was a photo of our kitchen sink because I feel I’ve photographed everything including the kitchen sink in the last year and a quarter. That’s a good thing.

I’ve also experienced an opportunity in the last few months. As of the end of January, my 22 year run at my “nine-to-five” job came to an end. One of the options I’ve been considering is making a run at embracing photography as my full time passion. As a result, I have entered into a new phase of my photography. I need to take it beyond a part time avocation and re-invent it into an everyday life style. Sure it’s frightening, but if I’ve learned anything over the past year and a quarter, it’s that the only way to grow is by taking chances and embracing one’s passion. I have no room for stagnation. I embrace what I’ve learned by doing my Project 365, and the time is here to put what I’ve learned into action.

I am still going to be posting photos...that hasn't changed. Some days, I may post several while other days I may take a break. In the end, it will be about the excitement of the images, not about the day of the week. And that is how it should be.

The 2010 Summer Art Show/Fair Season

I am delighted to announce my 2010 summer show schedule. It is shaping up to be one of my best--and busiest--summers ever. I will have a booth at some of my old favorite shows, but I am also excited about some new shows I'll be at this year. For a complete run down on my shows, please see the schedule below.
I hope to see you at one (or more!) of these terrific events. If you have any questions or comments, please drop me a message at john@carusophoto.com.

Thanks!

John

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Riverside Arts Fair May 22 & 23, 2010 Riverside, Illinois Downtown Business District 10:00 am - 5:00 Saturday and 10:00 am - 4:00 pm Sunday

Currently in its fourth year, the Riverside Arts Fair is sure to please artists and patrons alike. Join us as we celebrate two days of art in downtown Riverside, Illinois. This fine art fair has quickly become a community highlight. It compliments and confirms the appreciation for high quality design and materials that Riverside residents and our neighbors find in this quaint community.

Hosted by the Economic Development Commission, supported by the Village of Riverside and the Riverside Chamber of Commerce, the festival is held in the central business district of historic Riverside. A multitude of fine art patrons, music, children?s art activities and more await those who choose to join us for this spectacular event.

Lincolnshire Art Fair June 12 & 13, 2010 100 Village Green Drive Lincolnshire, IL, 60069 10:00 am - 5:00

The 13th Annual Lincolnshire Art Festival features approximately 150 juried artists set up along the grounds of Lincolnshire's Village Green dining and shopping area. The free festival surrounds a serene fountain and at the festival center is a beautiful sculpture garden, bordered by pleasant walking paths and benches.

At the Festival:

FESTIVE FOOD--Visitors may enjoy a variety of fare ranging from fresh fruit smoothies, ice cream, Middle Eastern food and in addition to Flatlander's onsite restaurant they will also have a special booth in the festival serving food.

CREATIVE AND EDUCATIONAL FUN--Free hands on art projects for children. Additionally, kids can go on a scavenger hunt through the festival looking for different types of art listed on a bingo card and then receive an "Official Art Explorer" sticker.

FREE ENTERTAINMENT--Throughout the weekend, live music from acoustic rock duo Cirrus Falcon will entertain the crowd.

Fountain Square Arts Festival (Pending) June 26 & 27, 2010 Downtown Evanston, IL 10 am - 6:00 pm

For three decades, Fountain Square Art Festival has won acclaim as one of the most prestigious art festivals in the Midwest. With more than 225 artists, it's the largest and oldest juried fine arts fair on Chicago's North Shore. The festival is located on six city blocks in downtown Evanston with the fest's eponymous "Fountain Square" sculpture garden serving as its focal point. This urban setting creates the perfect ambience and embodies the word "sophistication" with an audience of more than 50,000 discerning, upscale art aficionados and collectors.

Entertainment & Attractions Besides the main attraction of world-class art, the Fountain Square Arts Festival offers a vast array of entertainment. A main music stage features continuous live jazz. In addition, the festival boasts a vast assortment of the area's best food and children's art tent offering art lessons and projects for kids!

Glencoe Festival of the Masters July 10 & 11, 2010 320 Park Avenue Glencoe IL, 60022 10 am - 5:00 pm

The Glencoe Festival of the Masters takes place in the prestigious Frank Lloyd Wright influenced community of Glencoe on Chicago's North Shore. Held int eh downtown among boutiques and cafes, parking is close and free.

FESTIVE FOOD--Visitors may enjoy a variety of fare ranging from fresh-squeezed lemonade, smoothies, snacks, wine tastings and more. Local restaurants operate continuously throughout the weekend.

CREATIVE AND EDUCATIONAL FUN--Free hands on art projects for children. Additionally, kids can go on a scavenger hunt through the festival looking for different types of art listed on a bingo card and then receive an "Official Art Explorer" sticker.

FREE ENTERTAINMENT--A variety of musical acts perform live throughout the festival weekend. From acoustic rock duo Cirrus Falcon to French guitarist Michelet Innocent, there's melody air.

The Geneva Arts Festival July 24 & 25, 2010 On Third Street Geneva, IL 10 am - 5:00 pm

Geneva, a chic and charming historic town located on the Fox River, will celebrate its ninth Annual Fine Arts Fair in 2010. Its prestigious reputation of offering a superb selection of fine art by renowned artists and cutting-edge newcomers attracts beginning and avid collectors.

Presented by the Chamber of Commerce, the show is tucked along shady streets among 100+ specialty shops located in Victorian-style homes and century-old buildings. A "hands on" kids art area, awards for emerging and seasoned artists along with warm small-town hospitality, offer a picture-postcard setting for this juried art celebration.

Art in Your Eye Festival August 14 & 15, 2010 Downtown Batavia, IL 10:00 am - 5:00 Saturday and 10:00 am - 4:00 pm Sunday

The Art In Your Eye Festival enters its sixth year at the beautiful Riverwalk on the Fox in downtown Batavia. Sponsored by the City of Batavia, the festival is a collaborative effort with other key organizations and reflects the spirit of Batavia's artistic and art-supporting community. Art In Your Eye includes additional pre-festival activities focusing on art education, hands-on art experiences, and arts appreciation. The culminating two-day event at the Riverwalk includes the centerpiece outdoor fine art show, exceptional children's art activities, continuous musical entertainment, an indoor exhibit featuring local artists, food, and free guarded bike parking to attract the hundreds of cyclists traveling the adjacent Fox River trails.

Gold Coast Art Fair August 20, 21, & 22, 2010 Grant Park The Corner of Monroe and Lake Shore Drive (Across the street from the Art Institute) Chicago, IL Fri 12-5, Sat & Sun 10-5

A Chicago Tradition for more than 50 years!

EXCITING NEWS! The Gold Coast Art Fair will have a new location in Chicago's famous Grant Park at the corner of Monroe Street and Lake Shore Drive, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago.

Heralded as the "Grand Daddy" of American art festivals, the Gold Coast Art Fair embarks this summer on its 53rd year of wowing Chicago. As one of the most highly attended art fairs in the city, The Gold Coast Art Fair annually attracts approximately 450 juried artists and 350,000 visitors from locations around the world.

At the Festival:

FESTIVE FOOD--Visitors enjoy a variety of fare ranging from fresh-squeezed lemonade, fresh fruit smoothies, ice cream, kettle korn, Greek food, and more.

CREATIVE AND EDUCATIONAL FUN--Free hands-on art projects for children. Additionally, kids can go on a scavenger hunt through the festival looking for different types of art listed on a bingo card and then receive an "Official Art Explorer" sticker.

FREE ENTERTAINMENT--A variety of musical acts perform live throughout the festival weekend. From acoustic rock duo Cirrus Falcon to harpist Ariane Lydon there's melody in the air.

West End Art Festival September 18 & 19 Stone Avenue Station (along Burlington Avenue between Brainard and Spring Avenues) LaGrange, IL 10:00 am - 5:00 Saturday and 10:00 am - 4:00 pm Sunday

Celebrating its 15th year, the West End Art Festival is a LaGrange tradition whose purpose is to bring a quality, fine art event to the Village of LaGrange and surrounding communities and highlight the west end business district. Artists from across the country participate in LaGrange's late summer festival that attracts art admirers and patrons each year.

Presented by the LaGrange Business Association and held in cooperation with the Village of LaGrange, the festival is held in the shadow of the landmark Stone Avenue Station along Burlington Avenue between Brainard and Spring Avenues. The charming and historic West End area of LaGrange provides a picture-perfect setting to showcase art. Other highlights include live music, food from local LaGrange restaurants and children?s art activities for an event to be enjoyed by all ages.

CaptureMyChicago Book Launch & Signing

This is just a quick message to let everyone know that the CaptureMyChicago book release event will be held this evening, Wednesday December 9, at the Borders book store on Michigan Ave. I was fortunately enough to have one of my photographs, Down Town, selected as a prize winner from over 28,000 photos submitted. All of the winners will be on hand to sign copies of the book--which will be officially released and available for purchase.

Here are the vitals on tonight's event, from the CaptureMyChicago.com web site:

Hey folks! We have some fun news to share with you.

We are excited to announce the Capture My Chicago book release party! It's going to be the coolest book release party the Chicago area has ever seen. Everyone is welcome. Bring your friends, family and camera! It's going to be a great time for the community to come together to celebrate the unveiling of the book. It will be the first public viewing of the book, and the first time everyone gets to see who made the book. That's why we're calling it a release party, you see! Prize winners will sign books as well to make your copy even more unique!

Books will be available to purchase at the release party at the retail price. If you want to take advantage of the pre-sale discount, be sure to check our purchase page and get the book shipped free to your doorstep. Note: all books ordered online are put in queue to be shipped out immediately upon arrival of books from press. We expect to receive the press shipment the day before the release party, which means online orders will begin processing and get on their way as quickly as possible! This means books ordered online cannot be picked up at the release party.

What: Release Party When: Wednesday, December 09, starting at 07:00 PM Where: Borders Books and Music, 830 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL.

CaptureMyChicago Award

[caption id="attachment_1784" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="My photograph, Down Town, was selected as a winner in the CaptureMyChicago photo contest."][/caption] Last night I attended an awards ceremony for the CaptureMyChicago project. This was a project sponsored by CBS2 Chicago, a local television station.  Photographers were asked to submit photographs for a Chicago-themed coffee table book, then the CaptureMyChicago community votes on the photos. I was thrilled to learn that one of my photographs, Down Town, was chosen as a prize winner in the contest. Only 18 prizes were awarded to a field of over 28,000 photo submissions. Furthermore, a number of my photographs will be published in the Capture My Chicago hard bound, coffee table book and accompanying DVD. To learn more about the project, or to purchase the book, you can visit capturemychicago.com.

The ceremony was held at the CBS2 studios in downtown Chicago. I got to meet the other winners, and we all had a great time looking at the fantastic photographs on display as well as previewing the book. I want to thank everyone involved in the project for putting together a fine experience and I look forward to next years installment.