// ABOUT //
I am an editorial and documentary photographer based in Chicago, IL – USA. As a documentary photographer I pay particular attention to the cultural, social and political landscape of our society and photograph issues I find important to me. I see my camera as a tool that gives me an excuse to go places, see people and to explore the world and learn about its people and issues with which I am unfamiliar. Photography continues to be a learning experience for me, with seemingly, no end in sight.
My photographs have been published in various national and international magazines and periodicals including:
The Washington Post, The New York Times’ Lens Blog, Investor’s Business Daily, Crain’s Business Journal, Today’s Chicago Woman, CNN,PRI – Global Nation,Zeke Magazine, Corriere Della Serra, French Morning, Photo District News, CBS Chicago, ABC News, Interview Magazine
To inquire about my availability and to discuss assignments please contact me directly or through Polaris Images.
// SELECTED WORKS//
BAJITO Y SUAVECITO
For the past several years I have been interested in the Mexican culture in and around Chicago and specifically three aspects of that culture that I have found most intriguing: The religious practice of Via Crucis, the Mexican wrestling known as Lucha Libre and finally the Lowrider culture pitting various clubs of car enthusiasts against each other.
This photo story is about the latter: the Lowrider enthusiasts. This is an ongoing project and will be updated from time to time as new photos are made.
Full Text by Hector Luis Alamo: Bajito Y Suavecito
SHISHMAREF : A NATIVE AMERICAN STRUGGLE
Shishmaref, Alaska is a remote village of about 600 people located 30 miles south of the Arctic Circle, flanked by the Chukchi Sea to the north and an inlet to the south, and it sits atop rapidly melting permafrost. In the last decades, the island’s shores have been eroding into the sea, falling off in giant chunks whenever a big storm hits. At stake is the existence of this unique native culture, which is comprised of Alaska Native Inupiaq people going back many generations. It likely will disappear should the city not be relocated as a unit and the residents end up scattered around in the mainland of Alaska.
Full Text: Shishmaref: A Native American Struggle
Article on the New York Times – Lens Blog
Andrew Ningealook, 26 years old and a life long resident of Shishmaref, breaks the ice before laying his fishing net under the ice
A resident of Shishmaref visits his sister's grave on the 17th anniversary of her death. The cemetery is centrally located in front of the Lutheran Church - The only church in the village.
Sled dogs wait to be fed. Each individual dog has its own shelter and are fed individually.
A crack in the ice formed on the Shishmaref Inlet which once frozen provides the residents of Shishmaref with an easy access to the mainland and allows them to go further to hunt for caribou, bears and wolves.
A freshly caught seals waits to be cut and processed. Seal is one of the primary sources of meat for the people of Shishmaref, Alaska and their dogs. Leaving the fresh kill outside provides perfect and convenient freezer storage.
Nora Iyatunguk washes her son, Gilford, in the women's section of the Washeteria in Shishmaref, Alaska. A bucket of hot water for this purpose is $2.00. The Washeteria is the only place for residents to take showers and/or wash their clothes. Elders get their laundry done for free and get free use of the showers.
Allison Neyoktok, 26, watches her mother, Catherine Neyoktok, 62, sew mittens using seal fur and skin. On weeknights they play bingo at the Shishmaref Community Center. Catherine is a fourth generation of Neyoktoks born in Shishmaref.
Bingo is one of the few recreational pastimes available to the residents of Shishmaref, and is held every night except on Sundays and Wednesdays so as to allow the residents attend the Church services. Once a player calls "Bingo" a game official reads out loud the numbers and the bingo caller confirms the win. Payment is then received on the spot. While in this case the pot was about $350, prizes as high as $1000 are awarded each night.
During a break from bingo, players go outside to smoke and regroup. Shishmaref is a dry town and imposes hefty fines on possession and/or consumption of alcoholic beverages. Bingo and various forms of lottery are the only recreational pastimes available to the residents.
Shishmaref's center "square". Snowmobiles or “snow-go” are a primary source of transportation in town and for hunting food.
View of the Alaskan tundra from the small airplane on the way to Shishmaref. During the winter season, planes are the only practical way of transportation to and from the Village to other villages and to the mainland Alaska.
Lena Weyiouanna, 64, a longtime resident of the village, works as a janitor at the Shishmaref Clinic. She lives alone with her cat in a small structure.
Dennis Sinnok was born in Anchorage, Alaska, and moved to Shishmaref when he was a child. He has lived in Shishmaref ever since. He is an accomplished bear, wolf, seal and walrus hunter. Dennis works for the only airline that serves Shishmaref. As a side job, he also assists residents to gather and sell their artwork, carvings, furs and various fur related products in the mainland.
Ryan Ningealook, 4, looks on while his two brothers slept on the floor in the only room in their small home in Shishmaref, Alaska.
Although most residents of Shishmaref are officially members of the Lutheran Church (the only church in the village), they also observe and respect their traditional Eskimo practices and beliefs. During the Sunday service, Pastor Marvin Jonasen sings to the children as part of his sermon.
Mary Kiyutellukinguk was born in Nome, Alaska. She has lived all of her life in Shishmaref and takes care of her granddaughters Kiyeivi, 7, and Kalaya, 3, after school while their mother is at work at the school.
A young Shishmaref resident runs with her puppy on the main street in the village. Puppies older than 4 weeks old must be on the leash although the rule is generally not observed.
A resident of Shishmaref cooks seal meat and blubber to feed to his kennel of sled dogs. He has couple of dozen dogs being trained sled running.
Many homes in Shishmaref are decorated with Christmas lights and decorations during the Christmas season. Although most residents are members of the Lutheran Church, they also observe their native Eskimo spiritual practices.
Andrew Ningealook, left, and his cousin Thomas Eningowuk speak together while a twin-engine plane makes its final approach before landing at the Shishmaref airport.
During the previous storms and coastal erosion, various structures have toppled over. The warmer seas prevent the formation of ice that used to provide a natural barrier to erosion during the stormy seasons. Without this natural barrier, the Island of Shishmaref, Alaska is disappearing at a moderate and steady pace.