I have you covered.

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This year, I promise to…

Learn something new?

Have an adventure?

Find MORE fun?

I have you covered.

The Photo Love Workshop is kicking off again on January 25th – this time with four weeks of photography instruction and camaraderie in the studio. You can read all about it on my facebook page here.

We meet for 1.5 hours every Monday to talk cameras. photography and quite honestly, mistakes! You can learn about aperture, shutter speed, what all those little dials and symbols mean on your digital camera, and how to look at light in a whole new way.

We shoot, critique and laugh. A lot.

Then, this spring, summer OR  fall, you can really venture into new territory with a photo lesson and excursion around downtown Chicago AND get a great deal with my Groupon!

We will sit down at Millennium Park and cover some basic camera skills before heading out to some of the neatest places in the city for photography.

Space is limited for both, so don’t delay in getting registered! The downtown class and tour will offer a choice of six dates over five months.

Sign up for either, or both. And since it would be so much more fun with a friend, find someone to come with you!

You’ll be so happy you did!

 

 

 

 

 

the power of the printed photograph.

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My friend Bill Liesse passed away suddenly this weekend. He was 50 years old. Together we had covered Illinois basketball while in college working for the Daily Illini – he as a writer and columnist and me as a photographer.

Once the shock of the news was realized, and the tears dried for a moment, I immediately thought of this photograph. It’s one of my favorites from college and it hung proudly on the walls of many residences for years following my glory days at University of Illinois. Because it remained out in the open and enjoyed for so many years, it is etched in my mind just like the memories and friendship epitomized by this guy.

I am so happy to still have it in my possession. It was taken long before the advent of digital photography and lasting through all the technological advances in photography over the past 30 years.

Digital images are fleeting, disposable and subject to the lasting effects of fast-moving technological advances — like when you are left holding floppy disc in a world of flash drives.

There is something tender and comfortable and amazing about pulling out old prints. I held them in my hands yesterday, and the tears came, but so did the giggles, as I remembered the great adventures of me and my Daily Illini buddies.

It reminded me of the power of photography to transport you to a time when the world was yours, anything was possible and the fun was endless.

Try doing that with pixels.

 

 

 

2016. Word.

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MG123115Welcome to a new year, a clean slate. Resolutions, promises and a chance  to right the wrongs, improve yourself, improve your life and hopefully the lives of others.

Make a promise. Build yourself physically, mentally or spiritually. Start strong, stay strong.

Have faith.

Learn the truth. Follow it’s lead.

Find beauty. Educate yourself. Take nothing for granted.

Do one of these things and you are a success.

Romans 5:5 (NIV)

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Here’s wishing you all the faith you need to see the good in this world this year. Happy New Year!

a love story.

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Met this little 12-year-old girl playing in her neighbor’s driveway about 12 years ago, as I strolled through our new Mokena neighborhood with a toddler and a baby looking for babysitters. She gave me her cell phone number and she and her mom became essentially our first friends in our new town. She is like a daughter, sister and friend all rolled up into one, and helped me and my girls through the best and worst of times. She got married to the love of her life in December, and we are so proud of and so happy for her. We love you Carissa and wish you and your Tim a lifetime of joy and happiness together.

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back and better than ever.

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The first snowfall of the year settles on the roof of the barn at Yunker Farm on January 3, 2015 in Mokena.

The first snowfall of the year settles on the roof of the barn at Yunker Farm on January 3, 2015 in Mokena.

Well, I’d like to think so at least.

I knew I hadn’t written anything in a while, but when I came to the blog and saw August 29 as the last post, the first thing I thought was, “uh-OH!”

New year means new commitment. And since the Mokena Messenger is so great about giving me space for my photography, I need to be quite a bit more diligent about providing these great back stories to my weekly MokenaGram.

And while on that topic, if any of my Mokena readers have ideas for MokenaGram – someone, or someplace, or something that makes our little town rock, then please email me right away at: jeanlachat@comcast.net. I will consider any suggestions!

So many great things happening in my professional and personal world in 2015.

I love my cute little studio on Front Street. Kim McAuliffe, owner of An English Garden florist where my studio resides,  is my cheerleader, friend and business guru. We are planning on ripping up the second floor carpeting this year and doing some cool work to the floors so that the studio has that shabby-chic vibe both Kim and I enjoy so much. Behind closed doors, we call it “old crap” but don’t tell anyone!

I had an outstanding year for portraits in 2014. My business grew by leaps and bounds, and with a lot of hard work, I hope it continues in 2015! THANK you to all my wonderful friends here and around Mokena who consistently spread good words about me and my work. You are so wonderful!

2014 Highlights include (but are not limited to) my awesome seniors from Class of 2015 for giving me creative license to make you look super cool and beautiful!

My brides and grooms, who regularly trust me with documenting moments that will last a lifetime. I embrace this responsibility!

My families and their adorable children that fill my studio with love and laughter and JOY. And their “beasts” too — our four-legged friends who are always WELCOME at 11210 Front Street.

In addition to my studio work, I have met amazing people in and around Mokena through my work at 22nd Century Media,  the University of Chicago, the Les Turner ALS Foundation, Adler University and the March of Dimes, among others. I’ve met heroes and movers and shakers. Even rock stars. Literally. I shot Aerosmith this summer. It was, as you can imagine, a blast.

Most of all, I could not do ANY of this without the unconditional support of my loving husband, Rick, my Dad (bless his heart!) and my children Becky and Jess, who don’t always understand why I work every day, but know how much I love it, so they support me regardless! And my sisters & girlfriends and sister-friends, who, if I try to name, one will inevitably be forgotten. But you know who you are. And I love you, too.

I face a couple challenges right off the bat this year, but I am literally surrounded by God’s love and support in so many forms, that I am looking forward to both the challenges and blessings so I can watch Him work!

A happy, healthy 2015 to all.

 

 

 

 

just another day.

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sunflower.Some of the best photographs happen to pop into my life when I least expect it.

I usually turn on 193rd Street from Wolf Road to head towards home, but I missed the street (probably on my cellphone!) and ended up turning on 194th. It’s not a beautiful corner, basically an overgrown empty lot on the corner, but a few spots of color caught my eye.

The sunflowers growing there were beautiful, but it wasn’t the right time of day to shoot them. It’s all about the light! I promised myself to check it out over the next day or two to see how the sunflower looked at different times of the day.

After about three stops and some weird looks from passers-by, I hit the jackpot during a late evening stop. The sky was warm, almost a shade of orange and turned this flower on, as if by a switch.

It’s always nice to get a heavy dose of beautiful on a regular day.

I really think God gets a kick out of doing that to me.

 

see this photo at: http://www.mokenamessenger.com/mokena-gram-1 in the Mokena Messenger every week!

the walgreen’s lady.

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Nancy Wesolowski is Mokena's "Walgreen's Lady."

Nancy Wesolowski is Mokena’s “Walgreen’s Lady.”

Nancy Wesolowski is Mokena’s “Walgreen’s Lady.”[/caption]The New Lenox resident said she may live in that town, but Mokena feels like home.

“I remember when we opened that first day,” Wesolowski said. “A man came through the door, threw open his arms and said, ‘Welcome to Mokena.’ That’s why I love it here.”

She has worked at the cosmetics counter during her entire tenure. You may know her as the little lady with the big smile, an outgoing personality and an envelope filled with coupons behind the counter that she readily shares with her customers.

Wesolowski will be retiring on September 9 after 25 years with Walgreen’s. She previously worked at the original New Lenox Walgreen’s in the liquor department.

She can’t go many places in town without being recognized. People will see her outside her job, point and say, “There’s the Walgreen’s Lady!”

But Wesolowski doesn’t mind.

“I love being ‘The Walgreen’s Lady!'”

having a Blast.

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Memorial Day Weekend couldn’t have been better for a softball tournament at Main Park.

The weather was just about perfect. The games were thrilling. The level of enthusiasm contagious.

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My daughters played softball for many years before they found other ways to occupy my time. LOL.

We did one year of travel, which was a huge time and money commitment. I can certainly appreciate the dedication of each and every family at the fields that weekend, with a special nod to the Mokena Blast parents who spent countless hours launching a three-day tournament with great success. Thirty-eight teams played 91 games. Amazing!

From the sounds coming from every corner of Main Park, everyone seemed to be having their own kind of blast. For a few days I photographed and reminisced about how despite all the hours I spent watching softball instead of doing something else, it was definitely worth it.

My older daughter is almost 15 and thinking about college. I wouldn’t trade those warm (and sometimes freezing) days and nights at the ball field for anything.

Happy summer everyone!

 

I <3 mokena.

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Inspired by my foray into teaching the history of photography I was inspired in two different ways.

I joined Instagram. (jeanlachat)

I was able to start a photo column at the Mokena Messenger. It’s a wonderfully local paper in our town, edited by the fabulous Will O’Brien. The Messenger arrives free in my mailbox every week. I shoot freelance for them. I write occasionally. I read it cover-to-cover every week because I love knowing what’s going on in my town.

Will wrote a wonderful story on my studio opening in March. I literally cried when I read it.

You can read some of it online here: http://www.mokenamessenger.com/capturing-moment

When I pitched the idea of a locally-grown photo column, he said yes!

And so the photo debuted last week in the Messenger.

http://www.mokenamessenger.com/mokena-gram

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And I checked this morning on the website and saw that it was number one on the most viewed list!

 

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I couldn’t be more excited. I did have some regular photo features waaayyy back at the Sun-Times but it was short-lived because of a shrinking news hole and an unsupportive editor. I always loved the concept though, and I am pleased that 15 years later, I can again use my photography to explore, inform and entertain on a regular basis.

Please keep checking back. It hits the website on Wednesdays and the mailboxes in Mokena on Thursdays. I have another cool image coming your way this week. And with all my Mokena friends’ help, I will be able to show what makes living in this little town so wonderful.

feeling just a little bit closer to God.

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feeling just a little bit closer to God.

 

Communion weekends hold a special place in my heart.

My camera just loves photographing the little brides of Jesus. And even though I no longer go to Catholic church, watching the Communicants in their dresses and suits, solemnly lining up two by two, with hands clasped in reverent prayer reminds me of growing up Catholic on Chicago’s South Side. Of rosaries and little white purses. Of parties with potato salad and old aunts. Of not really knowing what commitment to Jesus you just made, but that it was very, very grown up. And very, very important.

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I had the good fortune of meeting and photographing Tori a couple weeks ago. I made it to the service and then photographed her outside of church and during their family party. She was an awesome subject to photograph. Mature beyond her years, but just silly enough to enjoy being the guest of honor that day. When the wind swirled around the courtyard, lifting her veil and dress higher than was proper, Tori took it all in stride. We caught some great images in between the gusty breeze and this lovely young lady will have photographs that I hope she will love for her entire lifetime.

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The family party was warm and welcoming; the kind where you are able to talk and hang around with a group of strangers, and still feel very much at home. I found out that Megan, Tori’s mom, had lost her own mom just a few short years ago. She had personalized candles around the banquet room that had a photo of her mom and dad holding baby Tori on them. We had a chance to chat for a few minutes, and Megan was certain that her mom was positively beaming down on the family that day.Image

Just before I left, Megan carefully removed the veil from Tori’s head so she could have more freedom to jump around and enjoy her cousins and friends at the party. It looked very much like weddings I have photographed and I said to Megan, “Just think, the next time you will need to do this is at her wedding!” Megan laughed, nodded her head and agreed.

And before we knew it, Tori was off and running.