Guest Photographer

A Year in Photographs by Adrian Galli

Sunset @ 25,000ft – Day 361

Sunset @ 25,000ft – Day 361

One year ago, I set out on a person mission, my New Year resolution and creative endeavor to take a photo every day for 365 days with each month a theme. 2018 is here and 2017 has come to its completion and thus A Year in Photographs concludes.

It is somewhat bittersweet to end this project. For an entire year my mind has been at work photographing everything around me. It is also a relief. There were days and weeks where it was very hard to get out and photograph; or at least follow my theme. Some months were very busy with work and other events. But all good things must come to an end.

I learned a lot about myself and photography. I pushed myself and took many along this journey but I think I will keep this simple.

When I set out on this journey in January of 2017, I was very excited. I felt somewhat in a rut professionally and A Year in Photographs gave me some purpose creatively. I also recall a post not too many days into this project concerned I wouldn't have enough storage for all the photos I was taking. And had I continued that path, I would have thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of photographs.

I would head out every day with my camera and take photo after photo after photo and end up with a hundred by the end of that day. Two things were an issue: I didn't want to store all this and, two, frankly, I soon found I didn't have time to photograph as much as I thought I needed to.

This need wasn't about actually needing the quantity, it was about lack of focus. While I enjoy running around, wandering, with my camera and taking photographs, it simply wasn't practical to do when sometime in the future I would find myself working sixteen hour days. Instead, I soon found that I needed to adapt and become even more creative. 

Chicago River – Day 26

Chicago River – Day 26

My daily mission wasn't to shoot a bunch of photographs and pick my favorite one to post for the day. My mission became that of having a precise creative vision. In other words, whatever my theme was for the month, I pushed myself to envision what I wanted to capture that day and go out and find it. Rather than wandering, although I still did that when I had a chance to, I would set out to find the image specifically; knowing where I could/would find it and make it happen.

As it turned out, rather than taking dozens of photos, I would take just a few and find what I wanted. When time was short and other circumstances would keep me from taking all the time in the world to photograph, this learn was huge.

Some months I had the chance to also work with some colleagues and friends. Erik Dirksen and Juan Galindo were two who I set out on a day of photography. I also enjoyed some time with old friends—Rory Coyne, a friends and artist, allowed me to photograph him as he worked. I hope to do more small projects like this in the future as time allows.

Further, Mazi and Chrissy, two good friends, requested me to photography their wedding. While it was not a normal skill of mine, it was a great opportunity and fun to get out of my usual creative space. One of my favorite photographs from the entire year came from this shoot.

Mazi and Chrissy – Day 245

Mazi and Chrissy – Day 245

My one opportunity with this project was to take it even further. Of course, hindsight is 20/20. But let this not sound like a defeat or complaint. It is merely another learn from this that there is so much more to photograph, so many more endeavors left that one could not achieve them in a single year.

Looking back over the year, I noticed that things began to work together. Things I worked on or learned earlier in the year, for example Color or Shapes and Patterns, became important influences in Perspective and Details. People played an important part in Cinematic while Minimalism and Black and White influenced Night

While this project has come to an end, I enjoy looking back over the 365 photographs I've taken. It was tough, sometimes even foreboding when I could not imagine having time to do it, but it was an incredible experience. I recommend to anyone who enjoys photography to engage in such an adventure.

January – Black and White
February – Shapes and Patterns
March – People
April – Minimalism
May – Color
June – Architecture
July – Signs and Symbols
August – Night
September – Cinematic
October – Perspective
November – Motion
December – Details

A Year in Photography: 365 days, 12 themes, each day a challenge. Here are some of my favorites from 2017.

Guest Photographer: Juan Galindo by Adrian Galli

Guest Photographer: Juan Galindo

Guest Photographer: Juan Galindo

February is normally an absolutely miserable month of bad weather in Chicago. This February was absolutely beautiful; sunny, warm, not a millimeter of snow accumulation. As part of A Year in Photographs, I chose February's theme to be Shapes and Patterns and following up my friend Eric Dirksen as my first Guest Photographer for this project, Jaun Galindo joined me this month.

While Juan is a musician, however, his passion and talent for photography I could clearly see in his Instagram feed. I've worked with Juan for some times but did not know him all that well. The Guest Photography element of A Year in Photographs has given me some time to get to know people who I am around all the time.

I began doing photography out of boredom. It became an avenue to escape from the monotony of tired routines. It’s a perfect way for me to spend quality time with myself and slow down to appreciate the elusive here and now. Through it I’m able to italicize memories and choose how I’ll remember certain segments in life. It gives me a chance to filter out the noise.
— Juan Galindo

We set out in a dark underside of Chicago. While Chicago is a beautiful and friendly city with great food, architecture, museums and art, and great people, there are some grungier parts of the city and the term 'underside' is no metaphor.

Our urban exploration for shapes and patterns began on Lower Wacker Drive; a street that runs below... wait for it... Upper Wacker Drive. Upper Wacker is known for its trek through a heavy business district of Chicago; tall building, bustling business people, etc. But Lower Wacker isn't something you'll find in the AAA Guide Book to Chicago. It is far from pretty; grungy, smelly, dark, many homeless people setting up shanties.

But where there is ugly, a photographer finds beauty.

We stumbled on an intriguing piece of hardware underground; a fan and airshaft. Taking our time to explore a bit further, we tried to find its location but Lower Wacker is a sort of maze at times and one can easily become disoriented. While we believe, we stumbled on the location, a grate on the street leading to what seemed to be the fan, we could not access it.

And getting a better vantage point, we found ourselves on top of a parking garage where Juan, in the best nature of Shapes and Patterns, shot found his photo.

Juan's Photograph of the Day

© 2017 Juan Galindo

© 2017 Juan Galindo

Explore everything. Go with your gut. Spend time understanding your tools, but rely on your eyes to create photographs and less on the camera. Light will make or break you.
— Juan Galindo

I couldn't agree more with this statement. We were out shooting with our iPhones. While some are scheming to get the next and newest camera, we were out actually photographing. Light is your best friend. One need not worry about equipment all the time. 

However, our tour did not end with Lower Wacker. In fact, there is still more for us to explore and I have no doubt we will complete our excursion soon.

We ended up in a strange island of Chicago. Near the Chicago River and some rather upscale shopping, living, and heavily trafficked areas, lays Goose Island. Home of Chicago famous beer, Goose Island, it is an industrial area where, like Lower Wacker, few would ever venture. But, again, where there is unattractive, photographers find attractive.

At this point, however, it was getting dark. We were shooting with only our iPhones and they do some impressive work but perhaps the ever dropping temperature also chased us. We ended out journey. 

Photography does not really have an end to its journey but perhaps just a rest. With February in A Year in Photographs coming to an end and March beginning, a new theme and more exploration is here already.

At the moment I don’t have a favorite subject although I do end up shooting a lot of architecture. Structures are like frozen performances and I’m drawn to them because of that. There seems to be an uncanny synergy between photography and music which often brings me to associate images with songs and musical arrangements. I also take photos of people - mostly strangers. There’s a lot to be learned about individuals just by observing their body language. People watching is amusing, it always has been.
— Juan Galindo

This is just a small sample of what Juan and I shot that day. I invite you to follow him on his Instagram @juanstagramm and enjoy more of his photography.

Guest Photographer is part of my project A Year in Photographs. I will undoubtedly invite many friends and colleagues but I hope to meet new photographers. If you are in Chicago or find yourself nearby me while I travel, I would love to go out photographing. Don't hesitate to reach out.


Guest Photographer: Eric Dirksen by Adrian Galli

Photographer Eric Dirksen

Photographer Eric Dirksen

It has been quite an enlightening month of photography. With January almost a wrap, my mind works endlessly to fathom what the next eleven months bring. Creativity is somewhat maddening at times but also immensely gratifying. 

Eric Dirksen, a friend and long time colleague, joins me in A Year in Photographs as my first Guest Photographer. An exciting part of this creative journey is seeing where it will take me. And while I have known and respected Eric's photography, we have never gone out shooting.

On the Edge...

On the Edge...

Grabbing our Nikons, we climbed to a rarely seen view in Chicago; probably one of the best views of the bridges of the Chicago River. The sun setting, the warm (but still cold) day for January numbing our ears and hands, we captured some beautiful shots.

January's theme: Black and White; and today we join forces. Chicago is a marvel of cityscapes and architecture —  city feels like it was designed for photographers. Searching for January 26th's photo, Eric met the challenge with his skills in photography and first guest photo of the year.

Eric Dirksen's Photo of the Day

©2017 Eric Dirksen

©2017 Eric Dirksen

From one iconic building an iconic view of the Chicago's famous river and bridges.

For me photography is such an incredible outlet - to be able to capture a nano second in time and have it convey a message or a story is not only inspiring but very powerful to me. The challenge to be able to portray so much with a still frame in time is an almost therapeutic process because it allows for me to get out of my normal head space and away from the things at hand in life or going on around me in the world. It is from there that I’m allowed to focus on the beauty that lies before me.
— Eric Dirksen

I think Eric's incite into his love for photography is something many of us can relate. I've often said spending time photographing is a zen, meditative experience. I don't look at the time, I often pay little attention to meal times, and feel a deep sense of calm. Even when shooting in a noisy location, there is a certain silence. 

My favorite subjects always tend to be of the scape variety - whether it be cityscapes or landscapes. It’s hard not to love a cityscape growing up around, and now having been living in, the third largest city in the States. There’s something about the collection of architecture stacked up against one another that just truly makes me appreciate the individual design and mapping that goes into the planning of a city as well as the individual high-rises themselves. Similar take on landscapes - theres just more of a challenge to emulate through a 2D image the incredible nature that is formed in various parts of our globe, but that challenge is not only what makes the moment more enjoyable, but the story you’ll be unfolding with that one snippet of time that’s been captured as well, which is my end goal for my photographs.
— Eric Dirksen

Our excursion at a dusky sort of time gave great drama to the city. Chicago has been unusually gloomy these past few weeks; thirties and forties are nice and warm(ish) for this time of year but we are use to much more sun. It was dark but added a certain cinematic mood.

Light is everything. Light is everything good, yet it is also everything bad. Too little or too much, and the scene just isn’t as great or good at all. Light is also something of creativity, and we see it all the time through long exposures. So, I would encourage to play around with light and find what balances you can create to take an image from good to great.
— Eric Dirksen

My journey is just beginning and thank you, Eric, for sharing this great location for a magnificent view and adventure in Chicago adding your touch to A Year in Photographs.

Come out and join me, join us, on this photographic adventure! Please contact me and let's capture some amazing shots.

I'd love for you to follow and check out more of Eric's incredible work. You can find him on Instagram and Check him out!