Jesse Jackson For Der Spiegel

Most magazine portraits are routine…. you walk in, you look for a location, come up with a few ideas, set up, wait, wait, wait, the subject shows up, you shoot for a few minutes and bid them a fond farewell. However things were a little different when I went to the Rainbow Push headquarters in Chicago recently to photograph civil rights legend Jesse Jackson for the German magazine Der Speigel, I decided to shoot inside the buildings auditorium so I could play up the fact that he is a reverend. Furthermore, how can you go wrong with back-lit stained glass as a backdrop.

Chicago Magazine Portriat Photographer John Gress
Rev. Jesse Jackson poses in the Rainbow Push headquarters in Chicago, August 4, 2011

When my assistant Chenge and I entered the cavernous room we were hit in the face with a smell that is hard to describe…. I looked down at the floor, along the edge of the red carpeted walk way, and there, pressed up against the wall was something my eyes could not believe. I asked Chenge, “Is that what I think it is?”

He replied, “Yes.”

It was a raccoon!

Apparently the mischievous mammal had snuck in the week before and was hiding under the stage prior to his capture the morning of our shoot.

Animal control was taking their sweet time picking him up… maybe they heard about the smell… I don’t know if it was the raccoon or the day old tuna!

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