Tag Archives: family

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 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

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.

 

 

 

 

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.