Saint Louis Cemetery No. 2 on a dark and stormy day Monday, Sept. 10, 2018, in New Orleans.
Thousands of people gathered to watch the 60th annual Chicago Air and Water Show at North Avenue Beach Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018, in Chicago.
A look at the rapidly expanding medical marijuana company Cresco Labs Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018, in Joliet, Ill. The company cultivates various strands of marijuana and also extracts compounds from the plants to create cannabis candies and other edibles, and cannabis oils, tinctures and other products for a variety of uses.
Link to Chicago Tribune story by Ally Marotti: Despite low demand, medical marijuana companies in Illinois are growing
Slaves, Franz Ferdinand, Khalid, Arctic Monkeys, Durand Jones & the Indications, Knox Fortune and many more play in hot temperatures for fans at Lollapalooza 2018 in August in Grant Park, Chicago.
Indigo Monae is yoga teacher who saw a need for a safe and peaceful community space while she was living in a building next to an empty lot in the Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago. Over the past 8 years, with help from other volunteers in the yoga community and funds from classes taught at Montrose Beach, Monae transformed the empty lot into a lush garden with a deck for yoga practice, drawing in young and old from the neighborhood. While living in Lawndale, she found access to healthy food options troublesome, and after witnessing young people involved in violence and drug dealing outside their home, she and her friends decided, “First of all, we need food, we need to teach them yoga, we need something to make them feel at peace,” she said. “So that’s how it began, just some yogis wanting to share some love.”
Link to Chicago Tribune story by Heidi Stevens: How a yoga garden nourishes the soul of a West Side block
Maritza Flores with three of her children, Skarleth Fernandez Flores, 6, Mariana Portillo Flores, 16, and Perla Flores Delgado, 3, at the home of the DeMay-Gres family, who is sponsoring her family as they seek asylum status in the United States, May 2018, in Chicago. The family left their home country of El Salvador years ago due to gang violence, living in Guatemala for awhile before ending up in Mexico. They crossed the border into the United States as part of a caravan of hundreds of people, organized by Pueblo Sin Frontreras, where they surrendered and sought asylum. Officials determined that Flores' 18-year-old daughter, who made it across the border with the family, would have to make a solo plea for asylum because she’s an adult, and remains in an immigration detention center in San Diego. Pueblo Sin Frontreras worked with Showing Up for Racial Justice, a national network of activists, to find sponsor families to house those in the caravan who did not have relatives in the United States. Flores said she is grateful for the family’s generosity, but she can’t get out of her mind her 18-year-old daughter languishing in a detention center.
Costumes and cosplay from Friday, April 6 and Saturday, April 7, 2018, at the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo at McCormick Place in Chicago. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune)
Owner Buritt Bulloch makes donuts, as he does every day, Tuesday, March 6, 2018, at Old Fashioned Donuts in the Roseland neighborhood of Chicago. He and his family, including his granddaughter, Drejauna, who works the counter, have been serving up donuts and other earthly delights on the South Side for over 45 years.
Playwright Loy Webb sits for a portrait at the Den Theatre Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018, in Chicago. She wrote "The Light," as described by The New Colony, "A surprise proposal takes an unexpected turn that upends the world of Genesis and Rashad, forcing them to confront a devastating secret from the past and putting the future of their relationship at risk. Featuring two of Chicago’s most dynamic actors, "The Light" is a 70-minute, real-time rollercoaster journey of laughter, romance and despair that uncovers how the power of radical love can be a healing beacon of light."
2017. What a year. Full of ups and downs. A pretty good year for photography for me, but it was hard work and sometimes stressful: Publishing the year long story on Eddie Bolden, exonerated from prison after 22 years, covering overnight violence in Chicago again during the summer and fall, lots of sports (though the Cubs bowed out early)...and more.
A rough but promising year as a woman and "Enemy of the American People," aka, a journalist. I am lucky to have supportive editors and colleagues. I am thankful and proud to do what I do and will continue to tell the stories of people in my community and shed light on an unseen truth or two. The people I meet every day truly enrich my own life. 2018 looks bright.
Faces of Dia de los Muertos Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017, at Dvorak Park in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago.
The lovely and bright six-year-old Jamela Anthony borrowed reporter Lisa Schencker's iPhone and small tripod and was busy filming herself when I arrived to photograph her at home in Chicago. Jamela has undergone extensive treatment for an aggressive tumor on her spinal cord that is now in remission as of June 21. Jamela danced, jumped rope and took her mother's phone to flip through photos as she kept Lisa's phone on record. She pouted a little when I asked her to sit next to her mother on the couch for an interview. She wanted to set up my tripod and be behind the camera.
Jamela's family has relied on Medicaid to cover the extensive costs of 52 weeks of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation required to treat her cancer. She spent most of the year as a five-year-old in the hospital and missed school while her mother, Tangela Watson, missed work to care for her daughter. Watson worries about how the Medicaid program might change if the Senate's Obamacare replacement bill becomes law.
Click hear to watch a video of Jamela, including video clips she created on Lisa's phone, and read more about how potential cuts to Medicaid can affect children in Lisa's story:
A few photos from a fun shoot at the new French restaurant in the Waldorf Astoria hotel in downtown Chicago Margeaux Brasserie. Some nice-looking food and beautiful cocktails.
Eddie Bolden was greeted by friends and family as he walked out of Cook County Jail a free man after spending 22 years in prison for a crime he did not commit Tuesday, April 19, 2016, in Chicago. A Cook County judge threw out murder convictions against Bolden, the fatal shooting of two men in 1994, and prosecutors declined to retry him. Bolden was 46 years old at the time of his release.
At his 1996 trial, a county jury convicted Bolden based on the testimony of Clifford Frazier, who was wounded in the shooting in the Woodlawn neighborhood of Chicago. Frazier’s brother, Derrick, and another man were killed.
“When I stepped outside … there’s a difference between stepping out on a prison yard and seeing daylight and stepping outside outside. I still can’t explain it. It was like I stepped into a whole new world for real,” he said.
Private investigator Susan Carlson worked with Bolden and his family and found key alibi witnesses who had been overlooked at the original trial who ultimately led to his release.
Bolden spent the last year readjusting to life and reconnecting with his family and three children, Dominique, 23, Antonio, 25, and Bryana, 26.
I had the privilege of spending the past year documenting some of this while getting to know Eddie and his family. Please click below for the full online version of this project, with story, photos and video:
Director Linda Seyler and a handful of refugees worked in the garden on somewhat rainy days when I visited the Global Garden Refugee Training Farm in May in the Albany Park neighborhood of Chicago. About 100 families, including refugees from Bhutan, Myanmar and elsewhere, have plots in the community garden. The farm, which began in 2012, became a nonprofit this spring after creating a board of directors last year, said Seyler, executive director and "head weed puller." The group receives so many requests for garden plots that there's a wait list of 60 families. Often, newly arrived refugees are so eager to begin growing foods that remind them of home that they reach out to the farm while still learning to speak English and navigate the "L."
Syrian refugee Khaled Haj Khalaf, the patriarch of the Haj Khalaf family, helped prepare lunch for his family at their home Friday, April 14, 2017, in Skokie, Ill. Fleeing the civil war in Syria, Haj Khalaf and his wife, Fattoum Bakir, came to Chicago in September 2016 with three of their children, but their oldest daughter Baraa Haj Khalaf and her family were denied entry in January of this year after President Donald Trump's immigration order banning all immigrants from Syria. Baraa, her husband Abdulmajeed and their now 19-month-old daughter Sham spent two years in a Turkish refugee camp for the proper paperwork, interviews and background checks required to come to America. They were all finally reunited in February and now live together in two different apartments in the same building.
I was in Peoria for several days to shoot back-to-back boys high school basketball Class 3A and 4A semifinal and championship games. Emotions ran high, especially the 3A championship game which ran into overtime. Chicago schools Morgan Park and Whitney Young Magnet took home trophies.
A few photos from a fun little shoot at Cafe Tola Lonchería in the Avondale neighborhood of Chicago. The place is small but very colorful with some great murals on the outside. I ended up taking some empanadas home for lunch. Highly recommend.
I photographed 3-year-old Dayna Dorencz-Cuervo and her mother Kimberly at their home Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, in the Morgan Park neighborhood of Chicago. Dayna has spina bifida and several other health issues which require special care, but she and mom have a regular routine of playing together, watching cartoons and having lunch after Dayna's older brothers leave for school. She usually gets around by crawling at home.
For preschool in the afternoon, Kimberly brought Dayna's wheelchair, which she doesn't use at home because the house is not very "wheelchair friendly." State Treasurer Michael Frerichs recently announced a new program, "Achieving a Better Life Experience," that aims to help families like Dorencz-Cuervo's save for the future. Illinois is forming a coalition with 13 other states to allow people with a disability or blindness and their families to open tax-deferred investment accounts to save money.
Full store here: Illinois treasurer to launch tax-free savings accounts for people with disabilities