When I first heard Tuesday of the Pray 4 Rose shrine beneath the Kennedy Expressway on Fullerton Avenue, my first thought was that people must have turned the Virgin Mary Salt Stain shrine into one for our man Rose.

So yesterday when I went to document the shrine, I went straight to the northeast corner, at the crash scene investigation site, to take a look. To my surprise, it wasn’t there, and the original shrine to the Virgin Mary remained.

As I noted nearly a decade ago, I believe whole-heartedly that this is a place where the Virgin Mary appeared in a salt stain. Why the hell wouldn’t I believe that? It’s easy.

Here’s pics of the place, as of yesterday.

Virgin Mary Salt Stain Shrine, Emergency Parking Only. Many shades of browns and tans. Water jugs and a broom.
Virgin Mary Salt Stain Shrine, Emergency Parking Only. Many shades of browns and tans. Water jugs and a broom.
Virgin Mary Salt Stain Shrine. A decade of visitors have left their marks, making this a sort of pass-on poem of epic proportions, with government cleaning supplies as a staccato harmony.
Virgin Mary Salt Stain Shrine in black + white. A decade of visitors have left their marks, making this a sort of pass-on poem of epic proportions, with government cleaning supplies as a staccato harmony.
Virgin Mary Salt Stain Shrine. All caps reminiscence.
Virgin Mary Salt Stain Shrine detail. All caps reminiscence.
Virgin Mary Salt Stain Shrine. Deep hues, boxes,, wall dance, and lime.  Anne Sexton kept right on going on.
Virgin Mary Salt Stain Shrine. Deep hues, boxes, wall dance, and lime. Anne Sexton kept right on going on.

We have holy places everywhere, if we want them.

Last Thursday I read reports of ISIL fighters taking over Assyrian Christian villages in northeastern Syria. There was also some footage of people destroying artifacts in a museum in Mosul:

Being a Catholic, I was pretty bummed about the continued genocide of the Assyrians. Having received a degree in anthropology, the destruction of artifacts stung bad. Being a human on Earth, I found the entire situation untenable.

Continue reading “On Jesus, ISIL, and Brokenness”

Here’s the first photo from my conceptual art project, COLLABORATION STOCK PHOTOS, designed to recreate and propagate as many stock photos representing the word “collaboration” as possible.

Here’s the original image:

Screenshot 2015-01-27 23.12.29

And here’s the re-creation:

COLLABORATION STOCK PHOTO 1My approach on this one was slavish re-creation, in part because we had the models, props, and venue at the ready today. I think I may have some more abstract approaches as time goes by.

I would describe this as “happy co-workers collaborating on a fun project. One person stands and draws on a whiteboard, creatively, while two others sit and learn. They are in a bright space. Fuzzed-out  people in the background are clearly collaborating as well.”

If you find yourself in need of a photo like this, download it here in hi-res for free. It is licensed

Want to take part? Fave this tweet:

Or just show up tomorrow!

I’ve got the first shoot set for my new project, COLLABORATION STOCK PHOTOS. My goal is to recreate and propagate as many stock photos representing the word “collaboration” as possible.

I will be attending the next meetup of Connect Chicago, a group devoted to people who work to bring public computer centers, community technology centers, and digital literacy programs to the people of Chicago.

The meetup is about Assessing the Use & Impact of Free Public Computer Labs in Chicago. Sign up here, have lunch, and help me re-create these pics:

Screenshot 2015-01-27 23.14.45
Screenshot 2015-01-27 23.12.29 Screenshot 2015-01-27 23.11.58

Earlier this week, my youngest son played in his middle school basketball championship game. I got there early, and was setting up my camera. The JV game was finishing up, and it got pretty dramatic.

The game was tied at 26. The visiting team— a set of sixth and seventh graders from a small league that contains no stars, no powerhouses, with no one but their families and stray parents like me watching them— brought the ball up the court.

A kid— I do not know his name— went down the lane and lifted the ball in the air.

I was standing up, at the top of the bleachers, with my camera on my chest. Without looking, I fired off about a dozen shots.

Screenshot 2014-12-18 18.08.47

One of those shots was a moment that mattered:

middle-school-championship

They held on to win. I was privvy to a moment of consequence for a set of humans congregated in a particular place at a particular time. This is why I take pictures.