that day when I met Trudeau…

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I usually love my job. Like everyone, some days are better than others. I hardly ever have really bad days. And sometimes, I have the best day ever.

Yesterday happened to be one of those days.

This happened.

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I swear I am not celebrity obsessed. OK, so maybe I like who I like, and when who I like is beautiful in his words and actions, then it is someone I can feel slightly obsessed about.

So, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

I spent the afternoon and evening listening to an articulate, empathetic world leader talk about the future in a room filled with UChicago students. It was refreshing and interesting and hopeful.

And then I literally photographed and photographed and photographed him with guests at an evening reception. Everyone in the room seemed to want a photo and PM Trudeau obliged until he was basically one of the last people left in the room. He spoke to EVERYONE. He listened to EVERYONE. And it was really something to see.

I usually don’t make it a habit to get my photo taken with University guests, but as I spoke with one of his equally kind assistants, he asked if I would like a photo with him.

I hesitated for less than two seconds. And then I said, “Yes, I would really like that.”

Best. Day. Ever.

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MokenaGram 1.15.18

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1001 Things I love about my town. Looking outside my front window during snowfall on January 15, 2018 and seeing someone buzz across my neighbor’s yard on a snowmobile. I (heart) Mokena.

Beginnings.

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Beginnings.

I bought my first camera when I was 12 years old.

That sentence is absolutely true. That sentence was also the lede of my entry into the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Photojournalism competition. I didn’t win, (thanks to Elian Gonzalez – another story for another time) but just having the Chicago Sun-Times editors believe I had a chance at the Pulitzer was certainly one of my career highlights.

The reaction of people when they find out what I do for a living ranges from jealousy to starstruck. It’s so funny – I am almost embarrassed sometimes to admit that I have this crazy, fun, amazing way to make a living.

But truthfully, it is the only job I have ever had.

My dad, my grandmother and my grandfather all loved to take photos. Grandpa Lachat favored Kodachrome, and boxes of his slides are still in my aunt’s possession.

My dad didn’t buy that first camera – a Kodak 126 that I saved $12 to purchase. But he did buy my first real 35mm camera – A Canonet QL 17 – for me. That camera got me through a couple years shooting for Inscape, the student newspaper at Mother McAuley High School, until I was able to save enough money for a Canon AE-1 Program from Able Camera on Kedzie in Mt. Greenwood.

So, the photography bug runs deep and wide on both sides of my family. And I caught it at a very young age. Gram used to let us kids take photos with her camera. It was magical and fun, and all these years later, it still is.

Why do I do what I do? The joy that great photography brings to the people who entrust me with documenting their families, their children, their weddings, mitzvahs, birthdays and anniversaries gives me my own joy times ten.

I do this because it is magical and fun. I do this so that my own daughters see that passion should be a part of what you do to make a living. I do this because it is joyful and important to those I serve.

I can’t imagine doing anything else.

MokenaGram 05/12/16

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Fog settles Wednesday morning, May 11, 2016,  at the Hickory Creek Forest Preserve on LaPorte Road in Mokena. photo by Jean Lachat

MokenaGram 04/27/16

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Spring Flowers

Pat and Lindsay Kinsella of New Lenox, with their two-year-old daughter Victoria, shop Tuesday, April 25, 2016 at the Bee Happy Honey Farm annual flower and plant sale in Mokena. The Farm is located at 9909 W. 187th St. and continues the sales until all the plants are sold. photo by Jean Lachat

MokenaGram Flashback

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The One that Started it All

This photo of the Ebert Farm Service grain elevator on Front Street was the first photo shot and published – two years ago in the Mokena Messenger. You can see it here: http://www.mokenamessenger.com/mokena-gram.

I had just watched the documentary, “Finding Vivian Maier,” and was feeling inspired as I drove down Front Street. The idea of a weekly column was born and though it no longer lives in the pages of the Mokena Messenger, I still love shooting it almost every week right here in Mokena!

Please subscribe to keep an eye on my columns, and I’ll be seeing you around town.

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Led by Midori Eng, bottom left, and Ari Corbin, the Lincoln-Way East Winter Guard took home the Grand Championship trophy in Class A of the Midwest Color Guard Circuit Championship April 3, 2016 in LaPorte, IN. Their show, called “A Fine Line Between,” included dance, and spinning of flags, rifles and sabres, and competed with 14 other schools for the title. photo by Jean Lachat

MokenaGram 03/30/16

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Tradition

Jack Cantway of Mokena United Methodist Church, left, carries a cross Holy Saturday on Mokena Street towards his church from St. John’s United Church of Christ during the annual Easter tradition for local churches. photo by Jean Lachat/jean lachat photography

MokenaGram 03/23/16

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Kids scramble to fill their baskets with Easter Eggs Saturday during the annual Mokena Lions Club Easter Egg Hunt at Main Park. photo by Jean Lachat

note: MokenaGram is making it’s last appearance in the Mokena Messenger this week, but will find a new happy home right here on my blog. Please subscribe to stay in touch and see more of my town every week! Thanks for your support! jl