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Sean at APA Midwest

Tuesday October 11th, 2011

by Sean Stone

My trip to Chicago began as these things often do—very, very early. A train and a plane later, I was riding the fabled “El” from Midway to downtown. The experience started out much like the subway in New York or Philadelphia, until a panhandler boarded and demanded everyone’s attention. “Come on…” “This guy again!” “Every day for two years…” passengers grumbled to each other. I was blown away. Not by this guy’s bold violation of Chicago Transit Authority’s “No soliciting” policy, but the fact that these strangers were speaking to each other. What? That’s right, people get friendlier when you leave the east coast, I forgot. Then there was a not so friendly interaction between the solicitor and a businessman, which made me feel more at home. But wait! After the guy changed cars, once again, these strangers started talking about what a crazy thing had just happened. How very unexpected!

Still intrigued by the Chicagoland friendliness, I headed over to the Intelligentsia coffee shop to meet up with David W Johnson, who had just finished a shoot in Millennium Park. David may not be much of a coffee drinker, but he has good taste in coffee shops. We had a great chat about the Chicago market, his recent projects, and his experience with Wonderful Machine. We’ve been helping him schedule quite a few meetings and he told me he’s been very pleased with the results. We walked through his portfolio and I gave him a few pointers.

David W Johnson

From there, I headed around the corner to The Gage for a lunch meeting with the delightful Patti Schumann. Patti has years of experience representing outstanding photographers, including WM members Terry Vine, Saverio Truglia, and Joe Wigdahl. She was very familiar with Wonderful Machine and our roster, but had plenty of questions about the extent of our services, our relationships with clients, and how we work with reps without stepping on any toes. We had a pretty lengthy lunch as she’s very easy to talk to. It was interesting to hear her perspective on estimating, branding, and photographic vision, among everything else we covered.

After lunch, I had a few minutes to kill, so I spent them wandering the park in search of that big shiny bean I’ve heard so much about. It proved harder to find than most big shiny beans, but when I finally found it, it was worth the hunt. It’s pretty amazing!

The big shiny bean.

From there I headed over to the Old Oak Tap, where I had the pleasure of meeting up with Matthew Gilson, Carlos Moore, and Beth Rooney. We talked about the usual—parenting, camping, surviving a move from The South to a freezing northern city, beer and wine, travel, and so on.

Carlos and Beth.

From there it was a quick jaunt down the street to the main event, the APA Midwest Portfolio Review. The review went by quickly, as usual, but I had the pleasure of looking at plenty of great work. Most of the shooters were from Chicago, but a few came from neighboring states just to talk to me…and maybe the great group of reps including Patti Schumann, Melissa Hennessy, and Katie Swanson, among others. I was especially interested in the lifestyle work of event organizer and APA Midwest chair Callie Lipkin, food by Simon Griffeth, and portraiture from Clayton Hauck.

The review. Photo by Ashlley Duarte

At the end of the event, I said my farewells and bedded down before my early morning flight back to Philadelphia. After my adventures with Craig and our extra day in Toronto, an on time departure and arrival has never felt so good. See you next time Chicago!

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