a very special session | team carone | chicago family photography

Pretty much everyone knows I grew up just outside of Chicago, IL – specifically a small town called Cary, which more or less sits on the edge of suburbia and farmland. When I was in high school and college, like many kids my age, I dreamed of getting out of dodge. I went on to live in France, San Francisco and ultimately settled in San Jose. That said, every time I fly back into O’Hare, I feel like a huge weight is lifted off my shoulders and I can breathe freely. After almost twenty years of living in another state, I still truly feel at home when I am in the Chicago area. It has taken me a long time to realize that I grew up in a pretty special place. I am amazed when I talk to people who no longer keep in touch with high school friends. At least six of my very best friendships originated in Cary. My brother, who now lives in Arizona, is still tied to the area as well through great friendships. I still feel I can walk into any bar, restaurant or store in the area and pick right up where I left off 20 years ago. Honest, friendly, caring people. In fact, I think Cary’s motto used to be “Cary Cares” or something like that. This year, I decided it was time to be “home again” and booked a month-long trip. I wanted my twin six year olds to experience the magic of Chicago and my hometown. Shortly before leaving, I learned that a friend of mine from high school, Rick, had been diagnosed with Stage IV Pancreatic cancer which had spread to his liver. Knowing that I would have an extended stay, I decided to reach out and offer Rick and his daughters a photo session. While I am humbled by what I do for a living and very few images even hang in my own home, I know from experience that family images can be somewhat uplifting in a situation like this. Fortunately, Rick and his girls took me up on my offer. ¬†Every time I photograph a family, I feel so honored they let me in to their lives to capture special moments. In this case, I didn’t expect anything in return. It was entertaining to see Rick’s interaction with his daughters – anyone that went to high school with him knows that he has a sense of humor and can dish it out better than anyone else. I witnessed the tables turn and watched his girls dish it out back to him. Payback is a $#@#$. Ha! His daughters have the same sense of humor, tenacity and spirit as their father. I’d like to extend an additional special thanks to Erin Loeffel, who was my ad-hoc assistant – fighting summer winds and lending support to Rick and his daughters throughout the marathon session. Rick has an enormous community of family, friends and supporters around him unlike anyone I have ever met which I believe is a strong testament to his spirit and character – particularly from the people we all grew up with in the small town of Cary, IL as well as the hunting and baseball community he has embraced over the years. I’ve had outside friends joke that there “is something in the water” in that small town, and his support network is proof of that. I’ve had my own trials and tribulations over the past few months, and his courage, strength, gratitude and spirituality have taught me much. Here are just a few of the images we captured that evening… Please support him in his fight – his family and friends have put together a tremendous community of supporters known as Team Carone. Please show your support and join his team of well wishers, thought provokers, and prayers…

It is what it is… but with a community as strong as this, you have the power to turn “it” into an isn’t.

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