From behind their lenses, the pro photographers at MWD Photography coax charming smiles out of children, take business-minded shots of professionals, or cement a beloved pooch’s place in the family with pet portraits. Families gather clans in beloved parks or favorite mall parking lots, and soon-to-be mothers preserve prebaby moments with pregnancy photos. In addition to making new memories, photographers are able to restore faded or torn pictures. An in-studio artist can also hand color custom fine-art prints with pastels to add mysticism to everyday life or commemorate the time dad slayed a basilisk.
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.
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.
Bill Buchelt, élan Photography's lead photographer, calls upon his 20 years of experience and a portfolio boasting such subjects as Michael Jordan and Julie Andrews to capture patrons' personalities in flattering photos. Buchelt photographs families, individuals, and seniors posing naturally in a comfortable, professional studio or among the verdant greenery of a nearby park. For a more specific shoot, the studio's photographers travel for on-location portraits and corporate sessions and offer complete wedding packages to capture couples' vows, dances, and cake-induced food comas.
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.