A view under the Michigan Ave. bridge over the Chicago River in Chicago, Ill., Thursday, January 6, 2011.
On the eve of my 30th birthday, I’ll freely admit that I’ve been guilty of reminiscing far beyond my favorite photos of 2011. With each bridge crossed on a mental journey back through time, old memories of each decade passed resurface with increasingly clarity: A family member excited that I’d be turning ten that week, back in 1991. Or, my 18th birthday in 1999 spent at Theatre at the Center subbing for a crew member – the stage manager bought me a cake! There was my 20th birthday in 2001, where I was down-trodden about a relationship that had just ended. And, believe it or not, I remember my third birthday in 1984, where a cousin at my party insisted that she squeeze into the chair with me behind my cake as my family sang Happy Birthday. As with present-day Guy, three-year-old Guy wasn’t too happy with that!
Truth be told, I still feel as youthful as I did on all those birthdays past. It’s only the world around me that has started to throw indicators my way that my youth might be fleeting. At a high school dance show I lit back in November, the choreographer threw me for a loop by referring to me as “Mr. Rhodes” in front of the entire company. “Mister? Yer killin’ me!”, I thought. On my photo assignments, mothers with young children are increasingly telling the young ones to look towards the, “…man with the camera!” My gut instinct is always to look over my shoulder to find the man they’re referring to, because after all, this is my shoot! “Man? What man?” After the second time I didn’t find any man with a camera looming behind me, reality started to sink in.
Now, the only thing looming is the future ahead. Perhaps it’s just the pessimistic tendencies of those like me with the Capricorn Zodiac sign, but the future is scary! I generally don’t like the unknown, and the future holds a lot of precisely that. As with many things I’m about to experience involving unknown elements, I’ve researched with friends of mine who’ve already experienced the event – turning the big 3-0. “What was it like? How did you feel?”, I pressed, making the three decade mark seem more like blasting off on a rocket or going extreme bungee-jumping.
The responses were mixed, and if I take them all at face-value, I’ll experience everything from severe, clinical depression to a completely normal day tomorrow. The thoughts I’m holding onto closest are from my friend Ciara, who at age 20 is still firmly anchored in youth. Wise beyond her years, she reassured me that, “30 is so not old at all… at all.” I’ve repeated that phrase to myself at least 30 times since she said it.
2011 was a very rewarding year photographically. While 2011 saw a lot of my time spent in the theater designing lighting, or behind the camera completing work on film projects, digging through my photo archives made me realize that I accomplished a lot of work on the stills end as well. From flights with new aerobatic groups to major weather disasters in my own city to weddings of good high school friends, I was thankful to be able to tell stories through one of the mediums I’m most passionate about. And, as I cross the bridge into age 30 and 2012, I hope to do even more of the same.
Aerostars Formation Aerobatic Team pilot Dave Monroe of Crystal Lake, Ill., pulls a Soviet Yak-52TW aircraft through a loop over Lake Michigan near Gary, Ind., during a demonstration flight for the Gary South Shore Air Show, Friday, July 15, 2011. The team is one of several aerobatic groups performing in this weekend’s air show held at Marquette Park Beach. Away from the team, Monroe flies Boeing 767’s for American Airlines.
A 22 degree halo encircles the moon over Lake Michigan near Whiting, Ind., Wednesday, January 19, 2011.
Snow covers a car parked in front of a house on west 143rd St. in East Chicago, Ind., during a winter snow storm, Wednesday, February 2, 2011. Record snowfall coupled with high winds made travel difficult if not impossible.
Gary Splash’s Robert Eldridge (top) shoots up and over Lansing’s Carlos Gill during the fourth quarter at the Genesis Center in Gary, Ind., Sunday, April 17, 2011.
Storm clouds roll over the Our Lady of the New Millennium statue prior to its dedication at its new permanent home at St. John the Evangelist Church in St. John, Ind., Sunday, May 22, 2011. Inclement weather forced the ceremonies to be moved indoors from the statue’s location in the parking lot. The statue, formerly a touring exhibit, was commissioned in 1995 by the late Carl Demma of Chicago.
Ron Jackson, cousin to the late pop singer Michael Jackson, looks out over the crowd gathered outside the late pop singer’s childhood home at 2300 Jackson St. in Gary, Ind., Saturday, June 25, 2011. Ron Jackson is the current caretaker of the Jackson family home in Gary. A tribute was held at the home Saturday honoring the second anniversary of the pop singer’s death.
Twelve-year-old Dakota Betancourt of Griffith, Ind., gets a birds-eye-view of the Griffith Independence Day Parade from atop the Army tank in Central Park along Broad St., Monday, July 4, 2011.
NHRA top fuel dragster driver Del Worsham gets a hug from his nine-year-old daughter Kate after winning his class at the Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois, Sunday, July 10, 2012.
Members of the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team prepare to hit their landing target on Marquette Beach in Gary during the Gary South Shore Air Show in Gary, Ind., Saturday, July 16, 2011. The show featured a variety of solo and group aviation acts.
Griffith High School’s Maciek Szczepkowski, a senior, poses at the school in Griffith, Ind., Thursday, August 4, 2011. Szczepkowski, a native of Poland, moved to the United States in 2005.
Shadows of Polish Catholic marchers are cast onto Broadmoor Ave. in Munster, Ind., as they, along with hundreds of others, march east through Munster during an annual religious pilgrimage from South Chicago to Merrillville, Ind., Saturday, August 13, 2011. The marchers make the annual trek to commemorate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
A garden spider waits for its prey in a web in East Chicago, Ind., Wednesday, August 31, 2011.
Sept. 5, 2011; Claremont, IN, USA: Servicemen unveil a large United States flag prior to the singing of the national anthem during the US Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway.
David Capp, U.S. attorney for the northern district of Indiana (seen through a video camera viewfinder), announces indictments of former Lake Country clerk Thomas Philpot, as well as indictments in a separate investigation of former Lake Country Sheriff’s officers Edward Kabella, Joseph Kumstar, and Ronald D. Slusser, at the U.S. District Courthouse in Hammond, Ind., Thursday, September 22, 2011.
Aspiring model (and friend) Helena, photographed in Gary, Ind., on Monday, October 3, 2011.
Steam rises from a Wheeler huddle during the fourth quarter against Andrean during sectional play at Andrean High School in Merrillville, Ind., Friday, October 21, 2011.
Patterns form in sand on the street near the scene of a water main break at the intersection of E. 141st St. and Alder St., in East Chicago, Ind., Sunday, December 11, 2011. The failure of a 24 inch water feeder line was responsible for the entire city of East Chicago losing water.
The sun sets over The Gulf of Mexico at Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., Saturday, April 2, 2011.