Last fall I got a call from Megan Lovejoy at Chicago Magazine asking if I wanted to shoot an epic feature showcasing Chicagoans with unique jobs “at work” in their environment. From the top of the Hancock to under the sea at Shedd, I got to catch a glimpse into the lives of many, a privilege I consider to be one of the best parts of my job as a photographer. As an added bonus, one of the jobs sent me atop one of Chicago’s tallest buildings to photograph Felipe Berumen, a window washer who took me along on his ride one sleepy Sunday morning while the rest of the city was still in bed. That might’ve been the most fun I’ve ever had on any assignment. We also got to catch a behind-the-scenes look at White Sox operations, photographing Roger “The Sodfather” Bossard as he prepared the field and operations manager Jeff Szynal as he ran the show during the game the Royals ended up clinching a playoff berth (that image is actually a composite of two images–one pre-game and one during game). The Art Institute showed us how Allison Langley restores and maintains its priceless art pieces; Fermilab let us take a peek at their new 50-foot-wide electromagnet that technician Kelly Hardin is slowly piecing together; Melissa Alderton gave us a tour of her massive prop house, Propabilites, should we ever find a need for a rotary phone or basically anything else we could ever need. A huge thanks goes to Megan Lovejoy (best of luck in the new gig!), Tomi Obaro, Bryan Erickson and everyone else at Chicago, along with assistants Kevin Penczak, Joe Becerra and John Burdett.
If you missed it the first time, the At Work spread continues as a monthly feature at the end of the magazine. I’m hoping to keep it going, keep it interesting and perhaps add a video element. That said, if you know anyone in the Chicago area with an interesting job, feel free to tell me about it.