Chicago Photographer John Gress using a Photek Softlighter II Umbrella

The Photek Softlighter II Umbrella… the Best $115 You’ll Ever Spend

When I received a Photek Softlighter II for Christmas in 2015, it quickly became one of my most treasured tools. I first became aware of this miraculous modifier when I discovered my favorite photographer, Art Streiber’s work on Instagram and I noticed him using a ten sided umbrella while shooting Placido Domingo for Vanity Fair. I loved the way it looked and rather than just asking him in a comment what he was using, I went on a day long journey to find it and once I did I never looked back.

U.S. President Barack Obama acknowledges the crowd as he arrives to deliver his farewell address in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., January 10, 2017. REUTERS/John Gress

Obama’s Farewell Brings an End to an Era

After I moved to Chicago in 2003, I started covering a “skinny kid with a funny name.” Now he really wasn’t a kid at that time, but I was a mere 26 years old. I have seen the image in my mirror change and I have seen the man who became our President change as well with each image.

Last night was a fitting and emotional end to a chapter of my life which I will never forget.

Chicago magazine photographer portrait of Gilberto Soberanis

Positively Aware Magazine photoshoot in Chicago: Latinos and HIV issue

Positively Aware magazine and Art director Rick Guasco asked me to create a series of portraits for their September+October 2016 issue focusing on Latinos with HIV. Rick’s instinct was to photograph our subjects in front of Colorful murals in Chicago’s Pilsen Neighborhood. So after an hour or so of online research, we headed out to the neighborhood to see if what we found in cyberspace would work as backgrounds for our real people.