Basic Color


Some of the earliest images I made 39 years ago as a college photography student at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. The pictures were for C&P 322, Basic Color Photography taught by Gary Kolb, who I’m happy to say is still a friend and mentor. The course focused on the theory, technique and aesthetics of color photography but I admit that I really had no idea of what I was looking for. I was also completely incapable of approaching a stranger, engaging them, and ultimately asking if I could take their picture. It’s a skill that took me a long time to develop so the faces here are rare, and the encounters long forgotten. The palette from color negative film, though, I sure miss.

Inaugural moments


J.B. Pritzker was sworn in as the 43rd governor of Illinois, and the state’s other five constitutional officers took the oath of office during the Illinois Inaugural Ceremony. It gives Democrats control of the governor’s office and the General Assembly.

Polly Poskin


Polly Poskin is the only executive director that the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault has ever known. Retiring after a 36-year career, Poskin reflects on work the coalition has done to, among other things, eliminate the civil statute of limitations in both child and adult sexual assault cases and the criminal statute of limitations in child cases.

First snow, early snow


The first snow of the season arrived in early November, a little unusual for our spot on the planet. So I took to the bike for an early morning picture hunt.

To smile, or not


Athens High School running backs Nic Laird, left, Caleb Orme, Dalton DiGiovanna and Kameron Floyd create a balanced offensive attack for the team. High school athletes want to present a tough look and smiling is usually frowned on, and done only if the others are, too.

Remembering 1968


Bernie Sieracki had just finished serving with the Army in Korea and Vietnam and was a student in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic National Convention.He recalled someone from the SDS — Students for a Democratic Society — an activist group, asking him how many babies he had killed. “I thought, ‘You stupid people.’ That’s the kind of perspective I bring to this.”

Taylor Pensoneau covered the 1968 Democratic National Convention for the St.Louis Post-Dispatch. He said some demonstrators used “calculated provocation” toward authorities, and some protesters wrested billy clubs from police and beat them. He said the protestors he had contacted before the event and met with regularly to get updated on what was happening in the parks, intended to be peaceful. “They were as upset as I was,” at the violence, Pensoneau said.

Dennis McMurray remembers the lingering smell of "stink bombs" at the Hilton Hotel during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, which had been used by police to disperse the crowds. A college student at the time, he said his history professor told him he'd see "history in the making."

'Beyond the four walls'


Four views of the Rev. Samuel Hale, Jr., retiring after 34 years as pastor at Zion Missionary Church.

"My concept of ministry was always beyond the four walls, yet my ministry was building up what was inside. If you don’t have a strong base, you can’t have a strong outreach,” Hale said.

Coverage for hearing aids


Hunter Martin, 10, has been working with Illinois legislators to pass a law that mandates insurance coverage of hearing aids for children. HB4516 has passed both the House and the Senate and is awaiting Gov. Bruce Rauner's signature.

Player of the year


Karly Bruntjen is the 2018 All Prairie Volleyball Player of the Year. Bruntjen was  photographed at her home in rural Montgomery County.

Historic legacy


John Roberts has taught history at Lincoln Land Community College since it opened in 1970. Roberts, 76, is retiring from the college as the longest-serving employee and faculty member in the college’s history.

Honor Flight veteran


Jim Carleton of Jacksonville, a Marine Corp veteran, has volunteered with the Honor Flight program since it began in 2009.

Lots of Lincolns


The Association of Lincoln Presenters helds its 24th annual convention in Freeport. About 45 members of the organization who portray Abraham Lincoln and Mary, as well as a couple Union Army generals, toured historic sites in Freeport, attended symposiums and a gala.

Civil service ministers


Shaun Lewis, left, is Executive Director, and Curt Fleck is Ministry Director of Civil Servant Ministries. The ministry exists to engage the political arena with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Access denied


Before Cynthia Bly used up the last of her prescription of pain pills in January, she was able to do the dishes, cook meals and take short walks with her husband outside their rural Springfield home.

Now that the 64-year-old former office worker no longer has access to hydrocodone, an opioid pain reliever, the pain from her chronic back problems and other medical conditions is too overwhelming for her to enjoy those simple activities. She spends most of her days in a recliner or wheelchair and uses a portable commode to avoid the pain and risk of falling on the way to the bathroom.