Victor Skrebneski 1929-2020
I first heard the name "Victor Skrebneski" when a high school friend's father, who knew of my interest in photography, mentioned his name. Victor's work was distinctive and his lighting was different than anything I'd seen. I couldn't have imagined that just a few years later I'd have the opportunity to meet him in New York and subsequently work with him for several years. I remember one of the questions he asked when interviewing me for a potential job as a photo assistant: Do you have a passport? (No, I didn't, but was ready to go and get one.)
When I first started working as an...more
Liz Phair - 25 years
Rolling Stone just used my portrait of Liz Phair to headline an in-depth story commemorating the 25 year anniversary and reissue of her debut album, Exile in Guyville. We worked together on so many different shoots during this time that a photo editor at one of the magazines asked if we were married (we were not). She seemed to always arrive prepared, with ideas in mind and wardrobe in hand (no stylists). She brought energy, creativity and a sense of adventure to these collaborations, once balancing on the rooftop edge of my old Milwaukee Avenue studio, four floors up. Liz's...more
My colleague Sam Landers and I have been working on book projects in Chicago, London and Hong Kong, showcasing the work of young and emerging photographers in each of those cities. As part of that series (called Trope City Editions) I’ve been doing portraits of the photographers, most of the time in locations that they might pick themselves. Sometimes it takes a few minutes for these reluctant subjects to adjust to being in front of the camera, but most settle down quickly and make it easy on me. I’ve been using a range of cameras, Hasselblad, Leica, and Canon — and am always interested in...more
When I was growing up, the name Studs Terkel was legendary. The name itself, “Studs,” brought forth a fictional, larger-than-life character out of the past.
He was a fellow Chicagoan, but somehow removed, remote, of another era. His distinctive, raspy voice could be heard on his radio program where he shared his love of literature, music and the arts with his many fans. When I first heard of Studs, the new chain bookstore Barnes & Noble had just opened stores in Chicago (long before Amazon!) and I was asked to take a portrait of Studs that would appear in an ad for the...more
In the fall of 2016 I was asked by longtime client Bart Crosby to do a portrait of Blase J. Cupich, the Archbishop of Chicago, who had recently been elevated by Pope Francis to become a Cardinal. The photograph was to be the official portrait of Cardinal Cupich for the archdiocese, with prints of various sizes hanging in churches and schools. Years ago I’d had the opportunity to photograph Cardinal Bernardin for a book project and, later, Cardinal George for The New York Times Magazine, but the thought of doing the official portrait gave a little extra pressure to get it just...more
The Duchess of Carnegie Hall
Late Fall of my first year at Rochester Institute of Technology I realized I didn’t have the funds to make it back home to Chicago during Thanksgiving break, so I made plans to take a bus trip to visit my aunt, uncle and cousins in New York. They lived at 122nd and Broadway, not far from the campus of Columbia University. During my stay they mentioned the mother of their neighbor and friend was a photographer and she had a studio in the Carnegie Hall Building. Maybe I would like to go see her and show her some of my pictures? Of course I would! A real New York City photographer!...more
New Web Site
This week, tommaday.com has relaunched!
For the last several years, I have been traveling frequently and have had the privilege of shooting in many locations around the world. Some of my favorite images are included in the new Global section of the web site. I continue to shoot both Business and Editorial Portraits throughout the year and recently joined Trope Reader as a co-editor, expecting to publish three new titles at the end of this year.
I look forward to hearing your feedback. If you'd like to see any additional images, contact me as I have several additional portfolios...more