Blog Archives

the power of love.


momanddad1momanddadrecentHappy anniversary mom and dad.

You made it.

50 years of wedded “bliss.”

Five kids, 15 grandkids.

Countless amazing, true friends.

A house in Chicago. A house on Saddle Lake.

Ups and downs and sideways and standstills.

For better or for worse.

In sickness and in health.

You never wavered from God or from each other.

We are all the better for it.

We love you.

the sisters. (pre-nickey)

december 1969. from left, Suzy, Chrissy, Michele (aka KiKi Meep-Meep) and me.

december 1969. from left, Suzy, Chrissy, Michele (aka KiKi Meep-Meep) and me.

I’m having breakfast with these gals this morning.

We are a little older now. A little grayer. Maybe a little wiser.

It’s been a year of  incredible challenge and pain for my family.

Through it all, I feel like my relationships with these women, (plus the baby, Nicole, who didn’t bless us with her presence till 1975) have grown exponentially over the latter part of this year, after our mom was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a particularly aggressive form of brain cancer. She’s hanging in there, day to day. My dad has been the champ in all of this, hanging on while he watches this horrific disease take over the life of his best friend, his partner, his better half, his life.

This photo was taken by my Gram, mom’s mom. Chrissy (the baby in the photo) found this photo while looking for something for my dad in the attic.

This is the time of the year when you express gratitude for blessings in life.

I will sit down to breakfast with these women, their husbands and a couple of their kids today.

I am so thankful for the moments when we are together to laugh. To enjoy the rare moments when we are not only in the same room, but the same state.

Mom will be really happy to know we all are holding each other up these days. We will tell her. She will smile her crooked smile, and she will tell us “That’s good.”

And it is.

will anyone ever love me the way john bearint loves me?


Our relationship began when he was merely a bump in his mommy’s belly.

Bev and Tim have become like family to me. Both incredible parents, they trusted me enough to forge a year-long relationship to capture their son’s milestones with my baby program:  sessions as a newborn, 3-month, 6-month, and 9-month-old and his one year birthday. In between those sessions, I was able to photograph baby john at his baptism and during his first moments with Santa. In between, we’ve shared moments of triumph in John’s milestones, and the trials of everyday life: job loss and sick parents.

Every single time we got together, the little guy had big smiles for me. I would squeal with delight as he charmed me every three months with his humongous grey-blue eyes, unbelievably long eyelashes and sweet personality.

“I think he’s fond of me,” I would say to Bev and Tim. Luckily, they were fond of me as well.

Baby John is one year old, and we had a bittersweet, beautiful session at Lake Katherine in Palos Park a couple of weeks ago.

I will miss these days, and so thrilled to have played a part in the Bearint story.
We will undoubtedly stay in touch, so I will see that sweet little guy now and again.


I hope he never stops smiling, especially for me.

for more information on my year-long baby program, please call 708.263.7269 or email:

see more of my work at

the accidental wedding photographer.


I don’t do weddings.


I mean it.

Except when approached by an incredibly lovely couple who referred to me by my very first photography teacher, Diane Tyska at Mother McAuley High School, who happened to be planning their daughter’s wedding because she lives in Atlanta and was getting married at home in Chicago. PHEW! You got all that?

That’s how I met Mike & Nancy Wisniewski, whose daughter Kathy is the afore-mentioned bride, and an extremely lovely person in her own right. Lovely on the inside and outside, I might add. Which made me really thankful that I said Yes to the Dress.

Kathy was marrying George (also very nice) at the Ridge Country Club in Evergreen Park. The bride’s room was the women’s locker room. Not the prettiest room for a beautiful bride. But when I took Kathy over to a window to get some portraits, her bridesmaids jumped up on the bench to look over the lockers to see what was going on. And we had a little fun.

“Oh, isn’t she so pretty!?!” “Oh! I can’t wait to be a bride!” “Oh, our little Kathy is getting married!”

The girls played along and wow! I got some great images from that locker room.

To make matters even better, I recently won a contest with this very image. My favorite photo blog, The Collective, had a contest for wedding images, I entered on a whim, and took second place.

I am still wondering how that happened.

I’ve booked more weddings since winning the contest. I have found that each couple comes with their unique story, that each ceremony will be as special and different as the next. And that I am blessed to have been approached by some really wonderful couples.

Stay tuned here for the Wrigley rooftop wedding, the high tea and croquet wedding, the downtown wedding and the wedding where the bride will be given away by her two sons, in full military dress.

I don’t do weddings; but I really can do people’s stories.

never gets old.


I have Page One today.

After 25 years of working at newspapers, it still warms my heart to see a day’s work sent out into the world.

Some Page Ones have been more memorable than others. Two indicted ex-governors. A new Chicago Mayor. A firefighter’s children at his funeral. Tornado-ravaged Utica. My first Page One was a great image of a guy leaping over a giant puddle when the Loop flooded in 2000.

Today’s Page One, like all of them, is special for several reasons. First, I’ll remember this summer working with our fearless intern, Ariel Cheung. We have worked together a whole lot and have managed to become friends. At this assignment, we had a lot of fun running around, surveying damage at Grant Park, even after security told us we couldn’t. We got to climb up and see the view from the rooftop of a Michigan Avenue building… a pretty rare opportunity and a direct result of a relationship I established with someone on previous assignments. That makes me feel good.

I even suggested the headline that was used. Very cool.

Conventional wisdom predicts “paper” news will die sooner than later. I will miss seeing my hard work beaming up at me from my driveway, and hearing from friends and family who tell me they saw it too. The Internet is fleeting; tangible evidence of a job well done lasts only seconds. On paper, it can last a lifetime.

I treasure every one of them.

meeting the osteens.


Reporter Ariel Cheung and I met Victoria and Joel Osteen at U.S. Cellular Field (Comiskey Park) on Tuesday. Her story and the photos are online at

I don’t regularly listen to or view the Osteen’s broadcasts. But I have read about the incredible growth of their Houston ministry. And how they are often criticized for being “too positive.”

Really. Too positive?

They are, without a doubt, a beautiful couple. Married for 25 years, which immediately  makes me admire them. And they are NICE. Not icky-nice. Genuine, heartfelt nice. I’ve been around enough people in this job to feel what is real and what is not. They are for real.

I love that they are getting out there, letting people know that everything will be OK. That life is hard, indeed, but also worthwhile. That  difficult times will pass and things will get better. That you can rise above it all, and be all you are created to be.

And how does all that happen? The Osteens don’t have a magic wand they wave around.

They stand firm on God’s promise, and back themselves up with God’s word.

And that is pretty powerful stuff.

cutest. family. ever.


Mrs. Janes is a teacher at my daughter’s school. My girls have never been her students, but she has worked with student council and is known as one of the many “really nice teachers” we have in our district.

Mrs. Janes won a session gift certificate at the Rogers Towing charity auto show I took part in last January. It was an event sponsored by a school family; a first time event to raise funds for special rec and it was pretty awesome.

As a mom of two young kids, it took a while for Mrs. Janes to book the session, but it was well worth the wait. We scheduled for one of my favorite local shooting venues, Hickory Creek Forest Preserve.

Despite a little humidity and two young kids, we pulled off a great session in the woods. The kids stayed focused on all the textures, sounds and smells around them, and we kept it light-hearted and fun. We avoided scraped knees, unfortunate falls from the tree trunks and any tears from cropping up.

It’s no wonder Mrs. Janes is known as one of the “really nice teachers.” Her family was incredible, and we had a lot of fun exploring the woods together.

I try to take part in community charity events as often as I can. I believe in sharing my blessings with others on a regular basis, especially with my friends and neighbors who unequivocally support my business.

Meeting with the Janes family, I know those blessings came back 10-fold.

To see a few more images from the Janes family session, please visit my facebook page for a short video!



this is jake and his best friend, buddy. i love dogs. sometimes more than people! so when jake’s     awesome mom, jackie, asked if buddy could come to the session with them, i was thrilled! jake also loves music and recently started playing his guitars acoustic and electric – again. He played some great songs while we shot his session. he likes some of the same music I do, which is really a refreshing break from the crap – er, fine music – that my daughters favor on B96 all day, every day.

I have realized that most senior boys end up in my studio because it makes mom really, really happy. once there, they either love the rock star treatment, or they make mom take them out for ice cream afterward, as their reward for being patient enough to get great photos from their session. it’s funny, you know, that even when the “boy” is 6-foot tall and over 200 pounds, they still are little boys at heart. isn’t that the truth with all guys?

jackie was a huge help, especially with buddy. She moved from one side to the other of the bench, calling buddy with treats in hand, so we could get some cool artsy photos with both her “kids.” we were also lucky enough to get a few lovely images of her and jake together. it is indeed a rare opportunity when a teenage boy puts his arms around mom for a photo!

it was a perfect day with jackie, jake and buddy. Always honored when a family invites me into their world for a few hours;  and we always part as friends!

to see more images from jake’s senior session, check them out on my facebook fan page:

jean lachat photography’s FB fan page

more spirit of the soul stories will be coming soon!