Last night I spotted an injured bird resting where I usually park. It barely moved its head, just enough for me to see it move in the pale moon’s light. I positioned my Jeep as close as possible to it so no other car could hit it, then went to check on the bird. Its legs were splayed out, and it was clearly about to pass. I put on some gloves and attempted to place it in a location more comfortable than the cold pavement. He was having no part of that. He did however let me pet his soft, beautiful black crown. Slowly, he bowed his head and was gone. He had the most beautiful iridescent, shimmering legs – like a glam rocker. So I named him Bowie.
Maybe I’m crazy, but when an animal passes in my presence, I feel it’s my duty to at least give it a dignified farewell, honoring its life. It’s as if this beautiful creature parked itself at my home for a reason. I put Bowie in a safe spot (away from neighborhood strays and predators) for the night, and buried him this morning. S/he has now been returned to the Earth, next to the beautiful black cat that died in my arms after I witnessed it get hit by a car near my house this past spring. I’ve got a small pet cemetery of peacefully resting critters that nourish my tiger lilies. (And I hope my landlord never decides to landscape that area!)
I’ve always thought there is beauty and wonder in natural death, and wanted to memorialize this majestic, gorgeous life. I took these photos before placing him in his eternal bed.
October 8, 2014
March 12, 2014
Here are all the kitties I fostered for PAWS Chicago in 2013. Each one has a very special place in my heart, even though I only had each for one to eight weeks. Each came to me with a special set of issues that needed tending to before they could be adopted into their forever homes. Almost all had respiratory infections at some point. A few had intestinal issues–which is not a glamorous nursing job! Some were motherless and needed to be hand-fed until they were old enough to each and potty on their own. Some just needed a week or two away from the shelter to relax or get all their booster shots before they could be spayed/neutered. And, sadly, not every story has a glorious, happy end. Some babies were just never strong enough to thrive because they were born into a cruel world where nature and humans didn’t care for them as they deserved.
I remember all their names. I know all their sweet faces. I will always be the only “mama” sweet babies Teeter, Flippy, and Swing ever had. They are as special to me as the two kitties I raised and cared for in my life for over fifteen years.
Fostering animals when they are at their most vulnerable, at their weakest is my calling (outside of my professional work as a photographer, educator, writer, etc.). I cannot imagine ever not doing it now! There are times when work and life get incredibly hectic. I simply take a few weeks or month off from fostering, then get my home ready once again when things are in order. It is not for everyone. It requires great patience, understanding of the species you are caring for (I am now the go-to gal for many of my friends for basic kitty advice), and there is some heartache as well. But in the end, fostering (in my opinion) is THE most important stage in an animal’s life as a rescue.
I hope this sweet little slideshow encourages people to seek out the shelters and rescue in their hometowns, and ask how they can help animals in need. It’s not just cats and dogs, but also rabbits, parrots, lizards, guinea pigs, potbelly pigs, chickens, and so many others. And, shelter don’t just need volunteers and financial donations (although both are very important!). They also need old blankets and towels, food donations, drivers who can take sick animals to a vet appointment, community outreach, marketing help, fundraiser event help, and so much more. Reach out and ask. Be part of a solution–giving abused, abandoned, and unwanted pets a happy, healthy life, and lowering animal populations with better animal husbandry and education.
I am so lucky to be part of the PAWS Chicago program. But there are dozens of stellar rescues in my city. Felines and Canines, Trio Animal Foundation, Home, Tree House Cat Rescue, and so many others! I am so excited Chicago recently passed a city ordinance banning the sale of cats, dogs, and rabbits in pets shops, except certified shelter rescues! The number of animals euthanized at the county open-access shelters has gone way, way down in ten years to record lows. I hope Chicago continues to lead the way in how animal rescue can be done humanely, smartly, and with great pride.
Again, please find the local shelters and rescue in your area, and ask how you can help in whatever ways you are able.
January 10, 2014
One of my photos from last Jay Z’s “Magna Carter World Tour” show at the United Center in Chicago, IL January 9, 2014. To see more photos and read show review, visit: http://www.examiner.com/article/jay-z-s-hot-show-defrosts-chicago-s-united-center
December 30, 2013
December 27, 2013
It’s that time of year… When people “pop the question” under the mistletoe!
If you or someone you know is recently engaged, and my style of colorful, creative photography would be a great fit with their vintage, offbeat, rock ‘n’ roll, same sex, steampunk, or just simply awesome wedding, be sure to share/check out my portfolio:
Please note: I will only be booking SIX more unions for 2014! Do not hesitate to call soon to ensure your date with Outer Focus Photos! 773 . 853 . 2283 info @ outerfocusphotos .com
December 5, 2013
December 2, 2013
I am super stoked to announce I was chosen as the First Place winner in the esteemed PDN Magazine‘s 2013 “Ultimate Music Moment” contest. My photo of Chicago’s Black Actress performing at local dive bar Liar’s Club was chosen as the first place winner for Live Performance in the professional photographer’s category.
As a professional freelance Photo Editor myself, it is always fascinating (and sometimes bewildering) to see what images are chosen from year to year by the different judges. I actually thought some of my other entries were more awe-inspiring or aesthetically interesting. But, hey, I’m not complaining. This is a rad photo of a rad band, at a rad bar, by a rad Photographer!
While I don’t usually get too excited about contests–win or lose–PDN is one of the few outlets Photo Editors, Buyers, Art Producers, Designers, Art Directors, Ad Creatives, etc. all read regularly and sometimes use to scout photo talent. Having my image chosen and printed as the top in a category over thousands of other killer photos is great exposure to the right audience–the people who hire Photographers for marketing materials, ad campaigns, and editorial assignments. So, that’s cool. (I won’t say it is “free” exposure because I paid a lot of money to enter about 12 photos this year. But it’s worth it if one wins.)
In addition to also winning $100 for B & H (the NYC Disneyland for Photographers) and Canson, I apparently also get a digital SLR camera. I have no idea what that means; I highly doubt the PDN Santa will be sending me a new Nikon D4! But I’ll keep my fingers cross until a nifty package shows up on my doorstep. I’ll also get a PhotoServe portfolio (one more tool to add to my arsenal of marketing options and online presence), and a free pass to next year’s PhotoExpo. I had a blast at last year’s Expo and really enjoyed all the Artist Talks. (I’m not counting the hurricane that left me stranded for a week in LES without heat, phone, or electric for 5 very cold, dark days right after the expo ended!) And, perhaps the coolest bit, to me, my photo will be in a print gallery with the other winners at the 2014 South by Southwest Music & Media Conference. It might be just one photo in a group show, but it’s still something I can add to my curriculum vitae!
Lastly, I adore the guys in the band Black Actress. They are all super kind, fun musicians as well as supportive collaborators and friends. So, if they can also benefit from this tiny victory in any way, that’s icing on my Rock ‘n’ Roll photo cake.
P.S. This also marks one of the first times my new legally changed last name “Supernova” appears online and in print. :D
November 23, 2013
Here are a few photos I took at last year’s KT’s Kids holiday celebration at Chicago’s Schwab Hospital/Physical Rehab Center. Schwab is one of only two rehab facilities for kids in Chicago, yet they are severely underfunded since they serve most of Chicago’s uninsured children from the most poverty-stricken neighborhoods. KT’s Kids founder, Katie Augustyn (a licensed Social Worker), started the donation drive ten years ago collecting scarves and gloves for kids she saw at the hospital whose parents weren’t able to properly clothe their kids during winter months. It soon grew into something much bigger…
KT’s Kids now hosts an annual fundraiser hosted at Liar’s Club, collecting toys, funds, and winter accessories for hundreds of needy children, who are treated to a Christmas party complete with a visit from Santa, a DJ, pizza, snacks, and every child gets a gift of one toy and winter accessories.
KT’s Kids also helps host a summer field trip for some of Schwab’s kids who otherwise never get to see Lake Michigan, city parks, or go to school in some cases. This last summer KT’s Kids and Schwab were able to take about twenty disabled kids fishing, kayaking, and horseback riding. Unfortunately, they had to turn away over 80 other applicants due to lack of funds.
If you are able to contribute anything to the KT’s Kids fund, 100% of your generous donations go directly to treating these kiddos to a little Christmas and summertime joy. For more info, or link to donate. visit: http://www.ktskids.com
October 26, 2013
I recently photographed the wedding of a super cool, low key couple. They did not have many photo requests. However, their wedding and reception were at the Brookfield Zoo, a gold mine of photo opportunities! The bride mentioned wanting to do at least one photo in front of the zoo sign that had a brontosaurus next to it. But that seemed rather expected and posed for such a fun zoo feature. I asked our amazingly helpful zoo host, Terry, if there was a T. Rex in the exhibit. Of course there was. I had an idea…
When we hopped on the golf cart to do a “first look” and few other photo ops around the zoo, I then presented my idea to the newlyweds. When I mentioned a 1950’s style vintage “When Dinos Attack” movie poster, their eyes lit up. Next stop: T. Rex. We only had about three minutes, but that’s all we needed to captures the shots I had in mind. These two were such good sports, even the bride running in high heels!
When I edited this few photos, I did a bit of research on 1950’s photography coloring. I tried to do just enough manipulation to give the images a retro feel, but still reflect a bit of modern as well. I thought it would be fun to lay the photos out in a sort of storyboard, like a comic book. Lastly, the pies de la resistance–the movie poster! I had so much fun experimenting in Photoshop and finding just the right fonts and wording. I hope the couple get a kick out of this silly little vision I came up with on the spot, and creating something a little extra on top of their expected wedding photos.