Asylum 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.
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.
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.