Making a Monster

1004_AsylumXperiment1Asylum Xperiment, set inside the Odeum Expo Center in Villa Park, is annually rated one of the top haunted houses in Illinois. Last year, I was able to shoot the inside of the massive space minutes before it opened for an October weekend.

Earlier this week, I returned to shoot some behind-the-scenes shots of the house as creators/actors prepped for opening weekend (tonight). It was interesting walking through the rooms with the lights on, which in a way was more impressive because I was able to see the extravagant detail that goes into each and every room.

Above is a shot of co-creator Mike Skodacek getting his make-up done before we went inside. I found it amusing to watch as him and another actress transformed from normal humans to the un-dead, all the while carrying on a normal interview.

Best of September

1002_BOS1September brought the return of football, along with other Autumn sports, and a myriad of other assignments, from shooting an award-winning Polka band, to a local blacksmith, to sitting in on a physical therapy session with six-year-old Charlie Krupka (fifth from bottom), who is learning to walk for the first time after being afflicted with a type of cerebral palsy when he was born.

All in all it was a busy month, and a welcoming change from the slow pace of the Summer.

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Best of Summer 2013

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Daily assignments slow down considerably during the summer months, and with that, I regrettably haven’t been keeping up with posting. Instead of making further excuses, I’ll move along.

Above is a shot taken of an individual manually lighting a firework show. It was pretty interesting seeing the anatomy of how an industrial firework show comes together. Below are another (11) images taken on assignment between June and September.

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Best of May

0611_BOM7End of school celebrations, Memorial Day events and prep sport playoffs all added up to a busy Month of May.

Now sports are finished for the summer, schools are out and things have quieted down considerably. The silver lining: it gives me some time to work on photo essays.

Here are a dozen frames from assignments last month.

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Best of April

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It appears that Winter is finally over, and it’s evident in my work from April. Some great expressions from various events this past month. On top of that, outdoor sports like softball and baseball are finally being played after nearly half a season of inclement weather cancellations.

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The Sincerest Form of Flattery

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The Midwest Hall of Fame is an annual event at Forest Hills Elementary School in Western Springs. After researching a historical figure with ties to the Midwestern United States, fourth graders at the school put together a project that included dressing up like their chosen character.

During the event, the students would recite to their peers, teachers and parents who they were, what they did and other interesting factoids about their lives.

After grabbing the shots I needed, I did one last round, paying attention to the best-dressed students and trying to shoot environmental-style portraits of them standing near a real-life photo of who they were portraying…I thought the juxtaposition between the real person and the student was kind of cool.

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Walk the Line

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A fallen tree was responsible for altering his life.

Andrew Podczerwinski, 16, of Lemont was enjoying summer at a friend’s cottage in Indiana last year when a strong thunderstorm moved into the area. As the teenagers hurried to secure the boat, water skis and tubes, a tree fell on top of Podczerwinski, fracturing most of his ribs, his pelvis, collapsing his lungs and fracturing his vertebrae.

The injuries suffered from the accident left him in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down. Doctors told Podczerwinski he survived solely due to his conditioning– he was a wrestler in peak physical shape.

Since then, he has been on the long road back. He attends physical therapy 5-days a week, and is determined to walk again.

Last week, I spent some time with Andrew as he went though a rehab session. It was inspiring, to say the least, as he enthusiastically went through his therapy with a smile and a clear determination toward his end goal to walk again.

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