Photo Snowfari with Laurie

When I told my Dad yesterday morning that Laurie and I were going on a photo snowfari, he immediately quipped about it being a  a little cold for outdoor boudoir. Funny Dad, real funny.

While our shoots together these days are typically for Revealed, we try to make it a point to exercise our eye in other avenues.  With two feet of snow creating a natural softbox, we agreed a trip outdoors was in order.

I can’t deny I LOVE Montrose Harbor, so we opted to go there. Parents pushed their children down well-worn sled runs, dogs ran circles in the snow, and the light made it all feel magical.

Snow DAY!

Who doesn’t love a snow day?  Between Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning the weather Gods had their way with Chicago. There was snow, there was lightning, there was thunder, and there was wind. Yes, I know, it’s Chicago, we’re used to the wind, but 70 mph gusts were strong even for us.  After all was said and done, people made the most of their day off, taking to the street for a snow ball fights, shoveling parties, and even a game of Wiffle ball.

Bikram in the City for Fresh Guide/Pop Sugar

Bikram in the City for Pop Sugar

“Would you like a towel?” Mike, owner of Bikram in the City, asked me as soon as I stepped out of the 105 degree room full of limber bodied yogis.

“Yes please,” I replied eagerly.

He handed me a big white one from the rental shelf. I sheepishly sopped my sweat-covered brow.

“I guess I should have scheduled this as my last shoot of the day.”

Mike chuckle said what he did not–yeah, dummy, it’s HOT yoga.

Even though I left the studio “glistening,” I still felt great.  My natural high could have been from all the chanting  or “chi” in the room. I think  it was the shooting. The elements were ideal–floor to ceiling windows and the toned figures contorted into interesting shapes. What photographer wouldn’t be happy?

I left inspired, that’s for sure. The next night I had my first ever bikram session. If you haven’t tried it, you should. It feels amazing, especially in the cold, dry winter!  Check out this link for Bikram in the City’s schedule of classes.

bikram in the city bikram in the city bikram in the city

Black Hawks win the Stanley Cup Tournament. Chicago fans celebrate in Wrigleyville.

Chicago Black Hawk Fans swarmed the streets of Wrigleville minutes after Patrick Kane slipped the winning goal into Philadelphia Flyer’s net. Honking and cheering was heard from blocks away hours after the tournament was over. There was a general sense of camaraderie within the mass.  This was a celebration, not a riot, none-the-less police officers mounted on horses pushed back and dispersed the crowd. Fans touted homemade Stanley Cup replicas, donned their favorite players jersey’s, and smiled giddily.  It’s been nearly half-a-century since the last time the Black Hawks won the Stanley Cup, the party was overdue!

Pieces of Panama, part 2.

On a Saturday morning a few months ago, I woke to find a missed alert on my phone from a friend and fellow photographer Laurie.

I dialed my voice mail expecting to hear a message continuing some portion of the conversation we’d had at dinner the night before.  To my surprise, the call was regarding something altogether different.

“Hey Maggie, it’s Laurie.  I talked to Johnny tonight and he said you could come to Panama with us.  We’re thinking about going in the next month or so and we’d really like you to join us!”

I thought about it for about 30 seconds before calling her back to tell her  I was on board.

Johnny, Laurie’s husband, was the point person for our travels. We laid down a few specified a few spots of interest (the canal,  countryside, and Caribbean) and he did the rest. A week before our departure he even showed me the excel spreadsheet coordinating our days’ activities in clear color-coated blocks of time. His enthusiasm for Panama was contagious, especially with the constant promise of hammock time on the beach.

I could only spare 5 days for the trip with my schedule, but I feel like I got a real taste of the country.  The people were warm and laughed easy.  Johnny’s family was wonderful.  His mom made a number of tasty meals for us, delighting my palette with tamales, a sweet yogurt drink, fresh fruit, and other treats I snarfed down.  To our delight, Marco, Johnny’s cousin spent three days with us. Marco knows a lot about Panama and was really patient with my constant queries about “that over there,” or “the history of this spot.”

The photos below chronicle a lot of our adventures, from our morning hike at the Smithsonian owned island, Barro Colorado, to our day at the Caribbean.

With Laurie, Johnny, and his family as my guide, I was able to see SO much of Panama… I had such a great time, and am already looking forward to the next visit.

Passenger’s reflection on the boat ride to Barro Colorado Island.      

The canal

A shared laugh.

The Jungle

Bus Station.


Our boat driver to the island.

El Cristo Negro

The little Chinese owned Panamanian spot. Delicious.

What’s James Natchwey’s TB Slideshow have to do with weddings?

I recently revisited the incredible project documenting TB across the World by renowned photographer James Natchwey.  I first saw images from this work while while doing some maintenance on the archive while interning at VII photo agency.

When I came across these images, I couldn’t help by sit wide eyed for a while, shell-shocked by the faces distorted in pain. One image showed the emaciated back of a man washing himself. You could count each vertebrae of the spine and every single rib jotting through his thin skin. I was just blown away.

A few months later I was able to attend the opening of the project at the United Nations in New York and here Natchwey talk.  Seeing all the prints as a whole was a remarkable experience.

It would not suffice to say that Natchwey is a rarity. He establishes trust and intimacy with his subjects quickly, as though he were family, a lover, a friend.  His level of commitment is inspiring.  I asked him once if he ever thought about retiring (not that I thought he should). He seemed to be surprised by this question, “retire? Oh no, I’ll keep doing this till I can’t walk anymore. I still have a lot to photograph.”

Whether I’m shooting weddings, boudoir, or daily life, I often think about his work; my subject matter may be very different, but I feel respect and intimacy are just as essential.

If you have three minutes, watch his slideshow.  It’s well worth it. I encourage you to pass on the slideshow.