Chicago in the Morning

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I wonder how the general twenty-something population spends their Saturday mornings. Not one for nursing hangovers or sleeping until noon, I spend my Saturdays cradling one large cup of coffee and following my Saturday rituals. For a long time, I’ve known that there’s no such thing as normal. I guess this is my normal, Chicago in the morning.

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Chicago’s Indian Summer

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A week ago, I had an entirely different post written for this day of Chicago’s Indian Summer. A solitary, 75-degree January day that ironically evidenced the plausibility of climate change, a day after the inauguration. But as the week turned grey, its sunny disposition did not correlate to internal greyscale. Looking back at these photos and the words associated with them, it is hard to fake warmth and brightness when I feel the opposite. It is nearly impossible to mask this perpetual state of disbelief, pain and frustration given the political climate.

Photography is an expression. An opportunity to compose and dissect and edit the world around me into an image that reflects what I see. I create pictures that are often bright and airy. I am an eternal optimist. Yet, it feels impossible to create an expression of a lie. Especially when freedom of expression is a farce. Freedom of expression is really the opportunity to express yourself in a way that feels familiar. A way that is not too different from others. A familiar dress, a familiar language, a familiar appearance.

I don’t want to create images that are untrue. Images that show the beauty of a place or a nation where the sentiment isn’t quite as beautiful. Especially a nation that lingers in internal conflict. I think I have an obligation to capture more than what is seen – and that is what is felt. In the next year, I am pushing myself to do so.  

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San Clemente California

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Some moments from the holiday break in San Clemente, California i.e. a place full of magic where the December sun projects warmth onto your skin. San Clemente feels timeless – as if the passing of time has not quickened its pace of life and as if it looks the same as it did three decades ago. It is retro, nostalgic and a bit magical, evidenced by its cotton candy sunsets and glacial low tide. Here is to hoping that 2017 is full of more magical moments than those in 2016.  

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^^ This photo feels reminiscient of my time, nearly two years ago, in Istanbul when an older man, recognizing my affinity for photography and some seagulls, threw bread off the side of our boat in order to attract the birds to fly alongside us. It is one of those moments that continues to remind me of our essential humanity, and propensity for connectivity. (Again,) here’s to hoping that 2017 is more full of that.

See you later San Clemente (and California)!

Winter in Lincoln Park

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Some moments from life lately of winter in Lincoln Park. My camera rarely sits in my hands these days with weekdays spent in an office and weekends spent absorbing some 9-mile, long distance friendships. If my excitement to lounge and edit these pictures communicates anything, it says that I miss it and will make a greater effort to do this very thing more often.

In 2016, Chicago was kind with its fall as it was in 2015. It was warm, lengthy and beautiful. Yet, it certainly didn’t ease us into winter. Winter has come blisteringly quick, with negative degrees approaching in the coming days. I’ll admit that I’m a Lorelai Gilmore-type when it comes to snowfall. However, with sub-zero temperatures, I’m already dreaming up about days in May when the sun stays out just a little longer.

I won’t make this a long but here are some of my “to do’s” for Winter 2017, written to hold myself accountable to do more than simplyread in my apartment:

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South Haven Wedding

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South Haven, Michigan holds a special spot for my family. My Dad is one of eight siblings. After the loss of one of my Uncles, the Hickey clan made a pact to reunite every other summer in South Haven, Michigan. It’s one of my favorite places – and family traditions.

This year was a different sort of celebration. When my Uncle passed, he left behind a widow, once an only child and presently a member of our “nation.” It’s our family tradition to welcome – and with his passing, we failed to let her escape the introduction into our big, incredibly tall family. So this summer, we celebrated her wedding to yet another Irish Catholic in our family’s favorite spot, South Haven.

I thought these photos couldn’t stand alone. They needed their story because it’s quite a unique one. It’s a story that provokes “feel good” vibes. And my own sibling’s willingness to be photographed. All in all, it was the kind of wedding where we all slipped on our swimsuits and completely undid all the pretty that we had put on by the time the cake had been cut and vows had been said.

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Humboldt Boat Park

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Humboldt Boat Park screams summer, during this season also known as – wait for it – summer. It’s blossoming and bright and boasts life in the form of people picnicking and ducks doing their water-borne thing. I’ll admit – I’m not the biggest fan of summer. I could arguably write a really persuasive essay about why it is not my favorite season. But photographs like these will surely bring back waves of nostalgia come February.

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For some place so far removed from the lakefront, there was this wonderful breeze at the Park.

Fun Fact! You can actually fish here. Crazy, crazy cool things happening at a city park that feels like it isn’t. 

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Tokyo, Japan Photo Diary

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Looking back, it is unbelievable remembering that I was in Tokyo back in March. It’s August. And somehow, time escaped me in the Spring. When I look back, it was a flurry of applying for jobs, studying for grad school and working like crazy at my favorite coffee shop. I felt short of many things – relationships, hobbies (i.e. this here blog) – and as I transition into “adult” life, I’m doing my best to preserve the parts of me that exist outside of an office setting, that continue to push me to grow and learn.

I find that each time I edit a picture, I get this indescribable excitement. Or when I put pen to paper to write copy, I get this motivation to choose words or stories that are uniquely my own.

Coupled with my love for this space, I question putting parts of myself out into its black hole. It’s a common human condition to wonder what people think of you. In this day and age, my name – and this URL – are easily discoverable with a simple, inquiring Google search. I find it a little unnerving to think that all that this is – developed some place and time in the quiet of my bedroom – can impart some notion about me or my capabilities.

Needless to say, I am intending to return to this blog with more frequency and more content. If you follow along (whoever you are), let’s do this thing – again. And for now, enjoy the beauty that is Tokyo, Japan.

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