I am a resident of Chicago. Chicago proper. Just a short walk to Wrigley Field. My home situated between two L lines and the constant, distant rumble of trains. Nonstop horns and sirens. The occasional staccato rip of (mostly) distant gunfire. The blatherings of a mayor and a police chief constantly telling me crime is down while I watch neighbor sites and blogs report the exact opposite. Even the news reports that come after the talking heads, don't bolster that "crime is down" mantra. The city is going broke. Bills can't be paid. Strikes loom. Taxes are going up. New taxes are being created almost daily, it seems. My feet seem sluggish and my head would hang low if it didn't need to be on constant swivel to keep from being an easy target.
Once upon a time, though, when I first moved here, I slowly fell in love with this city, despite being alone, removed from my family and my (then) career and uprooting my life for my spouse to pursue his dream. I started exploring the nooks and crannies with my human baby in tow. My camera, my former baby, I'd had to leave behind for my former career. Now, the camera baby was tucked in the stroller basket or on the passenger seat next to me. I still didn't really have any friends, but I had my camera and I had a vast city to explore. Yes, I ended up places I probably should not have been, but I got out there. I was looking at the canvas of Chicago with a clean, unjaded eye and I was exploring all that I could. I was taking some typical tourist shots, but they were mine and I was happy to be out with camera in hand. As the newness of the city wore off, I tried to dissect things more and find details some people, or my friends and family from my more rural upbringing, wouldn't think would were even remotely possibly in the city. I had fun with that. Then, I let life get in the way and I found myself with my camera less and less and more and more time being spent running here and there as my, now, two kids got older and more active. I don't regret that and I'm still running here and there all the time and wouldn't trade that for the world.
What I do regret is letting the negativity that comes with this city seep into my head, my eyes, my heart. It's hard not to let that happen. So much ugly going on around here. And, that ugly, like I said, I've let get to me. That's not who I am, nor who I want to be. So, I'm challenging myself to find something beautiful in each day. It doesn't have to be anything earth shattering, mind blowing, or a perfect photo that garners $ for me. It doesn't have to be a sweeping panorama that could grace a billboard or an action shot SI would covet. It might be my "good" camera, it might be my cell phone. I just
want NEED to find something beautiful in each day. I would challenge all of you to do the same. Especially if you've ever felt a bit like me, just mucking away and slogging along and that isn't you or how you want to be. Let's get out there and find some beauty in our every day lives.
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Viola and cigarette butt - love the gumption of this petite little beauty to fight for ground in a sidewalk crack while the grime of the city seems to go on around it. (captured with Samsung Galaxy S5, edited in Photoshop with RadLab)