I had the opportunity to photograph Chicago’s outgoing mayor, Rahm Emanuel, for a Chicago Magazine exit interview covering his time in office. While I won’t get into the politics here, it was an honor to get the sitting mayor of my hometown in front of my lens.
The mayor’s office provided the location, a newly constructed school, which thankfully contained one angle offering a nice view of nearby downtown. To maximize our short amount of time allotted to us, we had two different looks ready to go adjacent to each other.
I really wanted one option to have a super shallow DOF but was nervous shooting at f1.2 would be risky as I’d probably only get a dozen frames but decided to go for it anyway. I also used a continuous light which isn’t something I’d normally do but figured I could shoot much quicker and get more takes if I wasn’t strobbing the mayor to death while shooting in Al Servo mode at f1.2. Overall, while not perfect, I was happy with the results and knew we had our “main” setup which was a bit more of a safe shot to fall back on.
For that, I used two strobes with large softboxes and a white bounce and a third strobe near the lens for fill. Plates were shot a bit closed down on exposure to darken the exterior and add some contrast to the room and the two frames were composited together. I don’t normally like relying on merging multiple frames to make a photo this way but figured it was the best approach since we’d need to match the bright daylight from outside.
Overall I was happy with the results and our ten minutes with the mayor was over before we knew it.
The gymnasium was off limits to shoot in as it was being surfaced, however, the mayor wanted to check it out so we followed him downstairs and I snapped a few more photos along the way. Then we spent the next hour loading up more or less every piece of photo equipment I own back into my Ford Focus hatchback and off we went.
Huge thanks to Emily Johnson and Martha Williams at Chicago Magazine, Alisa Radoi on grooming, and Brad Danner for assisting and shooting the behind the scenes images.