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.
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.
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.
Lake View Art Supply's staff of enthusiastic artists channels knowledge accumulated over 20 years in business and a passion for creation to direct patrons toward the ideal aesthetic tools. The shop was founded when the owners began discussing the inconvenience of going downtown to obtain art supplies and the dangers of carrying red paint past bovine crossing guards. Goods from brands including Louvre and Liquitex parade along gleefully crowded shelves, and a variety of easels, watercolors, and sketching supplies brings up the rear. Shop services have expanded over the years to include custom framing, information about local art classes, and guidance as to which Three Stooges film is making the Mona Lisa smile. Proud parents of paintings unveil works alongside pieces from other local artists inside the Lake View Art Supply gallery.
Framing Mode & Gallery bolsters art collections and local artists alike inside its custom framing shop and art gallery. Framing artisans with more than 20 years of industry experience craft custom picture borders fitted to each piece's dimensions, using metal and wood frames, ultraviolet protective glass, and built-in rocket boosters to befuddle would-be art thieves. A collection of framed original works—including posters, limited-edition signed prints, and paintings—stands ready to cover blank household walls. The shop invites painters, metalworkers, and mashed-potato sculptors to display their works inside its gallery space, which hosts events to promote the inspired pieces of local artists.
For more than 40 years, Alvin Gates of Alvin Gates Photography has been snapping memorable shots and restoring damaged photographs to their original luster. Bringing his expertise and experience to each photo shoot, Gates effortlessly coaxes beaming smiles out of solo posers and groups playing statue during family-portrait, bridal, and graduation sitting sessions. He also specializes in photo restoration, returning discolored, torn, or leaky snapshots to like-new doppelgängers of their former selves.