Everything that came into my life this year came into it because of my photography. Every aspect was new. So it is hard to choose from all that what to put in my Top 10. Your "Top 10 Popular Posts In Rank Order" are shown in the right hand column.
#1 Ordinary Days at the Towle Theater. Starting with my most favorite, is my blog on my first theater photo shoot. I was scared stiff to even ask if I could photograph in a theater, let alone photographing a musical. The huge question I had was, "could I do it?" I did not want to let myself down, and I did not want to let Jeff Casey nor the actors and staff down. That put a lot of pressure on me. Typically people want to run away from pressure. To not deal with it. Wanting "the norm" to prevail. That was me. However, when I get a camera in my hand, I NEED to tell the story with photographs and words.
After photographing the musical I stayed up all night looking at the photos. I took approximately 2,000 that night, not wanting to miss anything. I do not use a flash on my camera, and my camera would only go to 1600 ISO. Given that, many of the photos did not turn out because of people in motion, or me just plain shaking. Here is a photo that has now become a signature photo for me, thanks to this musical.
#2 Rock of Ages: Rock'n Roll Art Show. Studio 659 had some great events this year. Their "Rock of Ages" brought me back to my enjoyable past. Just being there, looking at the art, being able to photograph it, allowed me to re-capture a past I wish now I photographed. Actually I had photographed . . . I just do not have the photos anymore.
#3 The Steepwater Band - House of Blues, Chicago. This was a blind faith photo shoot. The Steepwater Band and I have a common friend . . . Pete Calacci. I have photographed The Loyal Plastic Robots a lot this year. Because of that, and being friends with Pete, he connected me with The Steepwater Band when they went to headline the Chicago House of Blues in June. They did not know me. I did not know them. The band took it on Pete's word that I was worth the risk, and the band took it. Damn, I am so grateful for that. This was also the first time inside the Chicago House of Blues. So I did not know what to expect. I found out "the game" of photography, with other photographers around looking for the same shot I was, can be challenging.
#4 Next Stop - a New Chicago Musical. This musical was brand new. Never been shown. I found out about it by following Diana of "Diana and the Dishes". Diana has a lot of talent. That struck me, right out of the gate, when I first saw Diana and her band perform at Lincoln Hall. When I found she was heavily involved with a new musical, I contacted her to find out of I could photograph it. By chance, the theater companies photographer could not make it during their final rehearsals, so I was invited by the director to come and photograph for them. Again, like the Towle Theater experience, I immensely enjoyed the musical, and being the first to photograph it put a high on it for me.
#5 Chicago Tardis 2012. I am a Doctor Who fan. I first became fully aware of Doctor Who back in the late 1970's. I say fully aware, because I realized then I had seen it on television before but not truly realizing what it was . . . an icon. When I married and had a family, they became involved too. To this day my son and I attend the annual convention here in Chicago. And, I have been making converts around town too. Not that I had to. Just the mention of Doctor Who to friends seems to heighten their awareness, so when they see it on TV, they watch and like. I have to laugh. Friends will come to me and say, "I just watched the first episode!" I confused them when I started talking about it, then realized they meant the New Series. See, I have all the episodes available, going back to 1963 (yes, 2013 will make it 50 years now!!!!!!). So the first episode to me is with William Hartnell as Doctor Who?, from the original series.
This years convention was special because now I was a photographer on a mission. Deep diving, learning, wanting to tell a story. This was a great time photographing, and just having fun with all the other Whovians who attended.
#6 Beatles Fest 2012. I never knew this took place in Hammond, until I became connected with Paul Henry's Art Gallery. I was asked by John Vezmar of the Blue Room Cafe if I wanted to photograph this event. Well ya, who wouldn't! This was a great honor to me. I love music, I love photography. So the two naturally go together. From this one event I have met some great people that are now my friends.
What was nice about this event was the crowd. Yes, the bands were great. Beatles music is great. However the fans that came out to downtown Hammond, Indiana, were super great.
#7 Chicago Sinfonietta and the Zhou Brothers. The Zhou B Art Center has become my favorite place to visit every 3rd Friday of the month. I have met some great artists, and have been thrilled with their art and the setting at Zhou B. Though I enjoyed every month I attended, September was very cool. The Chicago Sinfonietta and the Zhou brothers teamed up to give us musically inspired "live" painting. The experience of seeing, understanding, becoming passionate about art, was what this all meant to me. You may look at the finished piece and say, "okay". The experience of being there, listening to the music, observing the selection, strokes of the mop, mixing of colors, the non-verbal communication between brothers, was very exciting.
#8 People are Special - One of a Kind. Although Sandra may not understand this, she is dear to my heart because of who she is and how she chooses to live. After taking her to a Peter Gabriel concert and learning more about her, I chose to write this blog for her. Not for me, but for her. This was my "thank you" for being who she is. This is also because of the situation, a moment, that Jen captured what I believe to be some great photography, and needed to share Jen's experience with Sandra and all of you as well.
#9 Wes' Excellent Adventure - Lighting 101. This adventure was early April, early in my photography experience. It was scary, being my first deep deep venture into photography. Being around other photographers that new what they were doing, at least compared to my experience, was enlightening. I learned from them, learned to be comfortable in front of models (too a point . . . still scares me), and had a lot of fun. I am scheduled to go back again in 2013 for a slightly different workshop.
#10 Paul Henry's Art Gallery - Thursday Night JAM 12/29/2011. This is what started the year for me. This was the first "out of the box" experience after I chose to deep dive into photography. This became the foundation which I grew from this year . . . Paul Henry's Art Gallery. Each Thursday JAM is important to the arts. Many attend, many share, many enjoy. I do thank David Mueller for creating this venue in downtown Hammond, Indiana. It is up to us to help this survive, to help it grow.
There are many, and I mean many, bands and events that I truly enjoyed. I put up this top 10 of 2012 based on my photography experience. The fun, the connection, is a totally different experience and deserves recognition too. I enjoyed Lou Shields, The Please Please Me Band, Pork'N Beans, Promise You Family, Beatniks, Nomad Planets, John Sarantos, Loyal Plastic Robots, Garfield Park Conservatory, Diana Leviton Gondek, Pete Calacci and Renee Wicinski, David Prusina, Chicago Art District, Yoga In The Park, Whiskey Tango Band, Diana and the Dishes, and a lot more this year.
I look forward to an even greater 2013, taking photos and letting me "see". I want to see more of the Please Please Me Band, I want more Pork 'N Beans. I want to do more outdoor photography. I want to learn portraiture. I want continual injections of The Robots (Loyal Plastic Robots), and I need at least 1 or 2 shots of Whiskey Tango. I want to learn. I want to express. I want my photography to uplift you, to see for yourself even if you do not see what I see.
"Carpe diem . . . contribute to the play of life." - Wes Bushby
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