Betty Stuart always had a talent for documentation. After graduating from Northwestern University's prestigious Medill School of Journalism in 1940, Stuart applied her shrewd journalistic eye to the field of photography. As she took on more professional jobs, she honed her skills behind the lens and learned how to blend into the background of weddings and other events so as not to interfere with candid moments.
Before long, Stuart joined forces with her husband, John Boyd Rodgers, to found Stuart-Rodgers Photography. The nascent company soon added corporate, commercial, and school photography to its list of services and, due to high demand for the couple’s innovative journalistic approach, expanded to three locations throughout Chicagoland. Today, Stuart-Rodgers's team of professional photographers maintains elements of Stuart’s original photographic vision in every shot, including her knack for capturing angles that draw attention away from subjects’ unflattering tentacles.
With a showroom full of materials and an impressive body of work that hangs in buildings such as the Trump Tower, Creative Edge helps clients turn bare walls into conversation pieces. Each Creative Edge consultant brings at least 10 years of professional experience to projects, ensuring that every frame perfectly complements its portrait, landscape, or recursive picture of picture frames. These experts also handle 3-D projects, creating shadowbox showpieces for items such as plates, sports memorabilia, medals, and dried flowers. Before settling on a design, clients can peruse the showroom to get creative juices flowing. The showroom offers samples of more than 3,000 different mouldings made from materials that range from classic solid woods to reclaimed roofing supplies, and the gallery features fine-art lithographs, giclées, and original multimedia pieces.
British ex-pat and award-winning photographer David Simm counts celebrities, business tycoons, and the Archbishop of Canterbury among his former clientele, and currently holds the title of chief executive of the Professional Wedding Photographers Network. Stateside, the artist supplements his nuptial snapshots with family portraits and corporate photography. A master of composition, color, and restoration, Simm also sells instructional programs that cover Photoshop, proper lighting, handling multicultural weddings, and preventing photobombs from quirky uncles.
The first Ebert Studio opened almost 100 years ago on Chicago's west side. Since then, four successive generations have preserved memories for countless families in studios that now reside in Oak Park and Hinsdale. At the helm today is Jeff Ebert, the great-grandson of the studio's founder. Jeff makes a very small distinction to give you the big picture—"It's not so much that it's photography," he says, "but it's photographing people."
Making people feel comfortable and look better is just one part of his job. The next part is to create "a piece like a painting that can be hung above a mantle and somebody can be proud of for years and years to come." As the latest in a line of artists stretching back to 1915, Jeff does that well, harnessing the power of passed time and using it to build a portfolio that showcases families, weddings, animals, and individuals. Some of his notable subjects have included Cardinal Francis George, Walter Payton, and film director Christopher Columbus, known for his historical documentary of babysitting, Home Alone.
Marc Hauser?s photographic expertise started as a 13-year-old freshman at New Trier High School, when the Wilmette native launched his boyhood hobby into adulthood with an apprenticeship under Playboy-contributing photographer Stan Malinowski. When one of the magazine's art directors visited Stan's studio, he noticed Marc's prints on the table and turned to Stan and asked, "Would your assistant like to go to California next week and shoot Carly Simon?" From there, notable assignments began to sprout, including John Mellencamp in a muddy field for his cover of Scarecrow and Led Zeppelin in a construction site in London.
Marc's style aims to capture subjects in their natural state?such as shooting family members while they're distracted and talking to each other. He often goes to great lengths to capture a unique photograph, such as speaking in funny voices to amuse kids, and barking to get dogs' attention. Above all else, he makes sure his clients feel comfortable so he can focus on getting the right shots, creating unique and striking images captured using simple parameters: shooting in black and white, with one light or natural light, around a table in his studio.
This approach to portraiture has earned Marc more than 100 awards, including Clios for advertising and a Grammy, and has landed him jobs with Rolling Stone, PepsiCo, Artista Records, and Microsoft, as well as acclaim for his images of well-known figures such as Aaron Copland, Mariel Hemingway, Michael Jordan, Dr. Timothy Leary, Sophia Loren, Patty Smith, Woody Allen, and John Waters.
The creative team of framers and decorators at Foursided stocks stacks of creative greeting cards and paraphernalia. The self-described "frame nerds" do more than cultivate a collection of stationery by planting paper seeds in nearby printing presses; they also place prints and objects into frames and furnish homes with original pieces by a handful of favored artists. Staffers also buy and sell vintage flash cards, puzzle pieces, and letter tiles harvested from a variety of objects.
Owner Todd Mack has worked in framing for 20 years, and he draws on his vast experience when custom mounting a broad spectrum of pieces. Vintage and recycled frames, archival framing, and shadow boxes are a few of the options available. Mack's interest in shadow boxes makes perfect sense to visitors who take a look at his own art, which assembles found photos and objects in forms that aren't always 2-D.
On HGTV's Urban Oasis, interior designer Vern Yip ornamented a luxury apartment with prints gathered from Foursided's expansive collection. In that collection, colorful shelves of letter blocks, maps, corks, baby-doll heads, and harmonicas turn personal, nostalgic objects into stylish new decorations. Candles, jewelry, and books round out the gift selections.