Waukegan, IL, is one of those cities that have a bad reputation. If you've grown up in northern Illinois, then you know that most people would say that Waukegan is known for crime and for being a rundown city, the poor second cousin to Chicago. It is however, a photographic wonderland. The city has rebuilt its downtown area, and re-opened the famous Genesse Theater, but most of it still remains its historical self. Although the houses along the lake in Waukegan, on Sheridan road are spectacular, I wanted to capture the other side of the city. I finally got to do just that a few weeks ago. The architecture in certain parts of the city is true and original to the city’s historic beginnings. Graffiti, layers of paint over paint, shops and even hospitals that are closed, still hold the city’s history and memories. From an empty parking garage of what is now only an ER run out of St. Therese Hospital, to the architecture of a beautiful church, I truly only captured 1% of the story the city has to tell in images. I hope to shoot there again soon!
Do you remember when you were a kid, and life was so much simpler? All that mattered was fun and friends and learning. Time dragged on, summer vacations felt like years, and the worst part of your day may have been doing chores, or getting in trouble for something you may have done. I've taken a lot of pictures in my past few shoots that involved kids and teens. During the last "I Have something to Say" shoot, two sisters, and then a group of kids from a birthday party wanted to take part. The project in itself, has an overall more serious tone, with a few adults writing something funny - but to see these kids write or draw something that was so innocent, and pure - was a relief. They have no animosity towards the world. They aren't wound up in bad mortgage loans, tough decisions, and political agendas. They want to climb trees, get hugs from their parents, and worry about an occasional loose tooth. The quote I posted the other day in "Words of the Day" was - "Sometimes I wish I were a little kid again, skinned knees are much easier to fix than broken hearts", Author Unknown. Sometimes I wish it was still like that. We cloud our minds with so much worry, anger, desperation, and sadness. Life isn't that innocent anymore. That's why it’s important to surround ourselves with good friends, and family. It's important to realize what makes us happy, follow our hearts, keep strong, and try to remember that innocent spirit of our childhood.