Tuesday, March 24, 2009

American Gothic

Grant Wood's painting of an Iowa farmer and his wife hangs in the Art Institue of Chicago and is called "American Gothic." It is one of the most recognized paintings in modern American art, and was painted during the Great Depression in 1930.

J. Seward Johnson made a sculpture of this painting, and titled it, "God Bless America." Last week I saw this sculpture standing next to the Tribune Tower and NBC Tower in Chicago.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Oklahoma Sunset

It was another trains, planes, and automobiles weekend. After arriving in Dallas, I rented a car and drove to Emporia, Kansas, to drop off my cover letter and resume with The Emporia Gazette for the position of staff photographer. On my way back to Dallas, I stopped to use the bathroom on Interstate 35. I noticed the setting sun and decided to snap a photo with this tree. It was taken in Oklahoma, though it could have easily been in any of the Midwest states; the flat land makes for spectacular sunsets.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Chicago Green

I took this photo of the Chicago River after work yesterday. The river was dyed green on Saturday, and had basically worn off by the time I snapped this shot. I used Photoshop for the coloring.

On my way home I stopped in my favorite Irish bar, Butch McGuire's. This place is truly a classic. It was here where I watched the White Sox win the World Series two days after arriving in Chicago in 2005. As you can see, they take decorating seriously.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Lamas Wins Chicago Bragging Rights on Short Notice

Back in October and November of last year I spent a month documenting the life of mixed martial arts fighter Ricardo Lamas. Yesterday I got a call from his father, Jose, about his son's most recent fight, a huge upset against another Chicago-area fighter. I cannot say I am surprised. If healthy, Lamas should never be considered an underdog in the cage. Below you can watch his win from this past Sunday.

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In the world of mixed martial arts, it pays to be ready for anything. Just ask Ricardo Lamas. The Elmhurst native pulled off the biggest win in his short professional career on a four-day notice.

Lamas thought his trainer Macario “Mac” Ramos was joking when he called him last week and said he was fighting in the co-main event at WEC 39 in Corpus Christi, Texas. Lightweight Richard Crunkilton had a knee injury, resulting in Lamas replacing him on short notice for the March 1 fight versus veteran Bart Palaszewski.

Lamas never stopped training since his last fight on November 8 in Chicago. “I haven’t been training like I train for a fight,” Lamas told WEC TV. “I feel like I could have been in a lot better shape. But luckily it came out to my advantage and I came out with the win. I knew I had a great chance to beat him. I just had to keep visualizing it, and just make it happen when I got in there. This is a huge victory for me…. Whatever the WEC has in store for me next I am going to train my butt off and get ready for it.”

The win not only gave Lamas (6-0) his first win in the WEC, but a four-fight contract and Chicago bragging rights since Palaszewski (30-12) resides in Wonder Lake. Taking the fight on such short notice and lacking professional experience, Lamas was a big underdog according to the fight media. His opponent obviously felt the same way.

“I’m going after this kid, and taking his head off,” Palaszewski told WEC TV before the fight. “I want my title shot and he’s just in the way, so I’m taking his head off with whatever punches, kicks, or if I get a choke in, I’m squeezing the hell out of his throat.”

Lamas said in order to knock him out Palaszewski would have to “take my heart out” and that he wasn’t going to let that happen.

“He proved them wrong,” said Mac. “Ricardo dominated all three rounds…. Nobody knew who Ricardo Lamas was. He flew under the radar for 10 fights (five before turning pro)…. Late notice or not, Ricardo delivers a W.”

Lamas took Palaszewski to the mat early in the fight and kept him there whenever possible. Lamas was an All-American college wrestler, and Palaszewski a professional-caliber boxer. Despite training three months for the fight, Palaszewski looked more tired than Lamas as the fight progressed. Lamas showed his versatility in the second round when he kicked Palaszewski in the face while Palaszewski had his back to him. It was a move the ring announcers had never seen before.

After the fight, Urijah Faber -- a WEC legend and Lamas’s idol -- told Lamas how he was very impressed with him. It was yet another pleasant surprise for Lamas.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

My New Website

Since it is the first day of the month I want to start it with the announcement of My New Website! This is my official site where I am displaying my work as a photojournalist. I will be updating it with more content in the next several weeks.