I own a website called The Local Tourist. It’s a directory, a blog, an events calendar, a review site, a community, a happy place where people find things to do places to go people to meet in Chicago. I love it. I. Love. It. But, I am not It.
I’ve known since I was ten that I wanted to write. Along the way I was distracted several times, but I kept coming back to the written word.
Words have always held a mystical, magical fascination for me. At family gatherings my uncle would yell at me to “get my nose out of that book” because I was being anti-social, and my grandmother would be right behind him giving me another to devour. For my 18th birthday my parents gave me an unabridged dictionary, complete with a CD-ROM. You would have thought they’d given me a car by my reaction. In the intervening 22 years I have lived in five states and countless apartments, and that dictionary is the one thing that hasn’t been put in a box. It’s the last thing to leave and the first thing to arrive at each residence.
Photography has held a similar, though not quite so gravitational, pull. I bought my first work of art when I was 12 at the Lafayette Courthouse Square Art Fair, where my dad had a booth. It was a photograph of a deer in a wooded glen, back-lit with such clarity you could see the fur on its new antlers, and the artist, Mr. Chet Chylinski, was so pleased that someone my age appreciated his work he only charged me $20 for his framed and matted piece. I, also, still have that.
I want to do both. I want to capture the human experience in 26 letters or less. I’ve taken it as a challenge to be able to describe a situation so clearly that someone can visualize it just from my words. But I also want to do the opposite. I want to take one photograph that will encapsulate all the words that can be expressed about that visual.
Both are quite a challenge, and I know I’m better at one than the other (as it should be). As such, words have become my vocation; photography is my avocation.
The overlying rule I have for both is to be real. Oh, I know, that probably sounds woefully trite and utterly cliched. But, however hackneyed a concept, it has merit. That’s actually why I’m starting this blog/site/presence/whathaveyou. I lead a very public life, but it’s a persona, and sometimes I’m NOT “The Local Tourist” and am just Theresa. I think do breathe and while the journal-ist is OK with keeping it private, the writer slash photographer wants an audience.
So, welcome to my world!