On a recent sunny afternoon, a young man in a gray T-shirt and gray hoodie walked by the glass ball photography exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago.
I followed him to a small corner booth, where he showed off a series of photographs.
“What would you do if you could,” he said, gesturing to his laptop, “if you could get a million people to see you?”
I followed his gaze to another booth, which had a group of teenagers sitting around a table, watching an older couple and a group or two of men.
The older man sat down at one end of the table, and the younger man sat at the other.
I leaned over to ask them what they wanted to see.
“A million people,” they said.
They didn’t look very happy.
“We don’t want to have any people come in here,” the older man said.
“That’s not going to happen,” the young man said, and leaned over, peering over the table.
“You guys are doing it for free,” he told them.
“It’s going to cost us a lot, but we don’t know what we’re doing.”
The younger man told me about the time he spent working for a man in his 30s who would send him to the city with a camera to shoot weddings.
The wedding was over, and he asked him to take his photos with his iPhone.
The photographer showed up and said he was going to shoot a portrait of the bride and groom, and then the bride was going on her way, so he was off.
“I just felt like, ‘Okay, let’s do this.
Let’s go,'” he said.
He ended up taking some 30-second photos of the wedding, then sent them to his boss.
“He’s like, This is my guy,” the photographer said.
So he asked the man to come back a week later.
“And he came back with this new iPhone,” the man said with a laugh.
“So I’m going to give you this iPhone.”
The older guy showed the photographer some of his own photos.
“There’s this one where he’s just walking through the crowd,” he explained.
“This one is in a bar, where the guy’s just kind of standing in the crowd, holding a cigarette.
He’s walking through this crowd.”
The photographer asked the older guy if he could use some of the photos.
He asked him if he would mind showing them to a group.
“If I can do that,” the guy said, “then yeah.”
And the photographer went out into the lobby and showed the young photographer the photos he had taken.
“Yeah, I can take that one,” the old man said to his younger colleague.
“Okay, this one,” he added, “is kind of like this shot.
This is what I want to do.
This one’s going into the street.”
The two men exchanged looks.
“Well, I think we can do it,” the younger one said.
The young man looked around the room.
“No, we can’t,” he answered.
“Let’s get this photo,” the woman said.
She took a picture of her husband with his phone.
“Here, this is the photo I’m using,” she said.
There were two more people in the room, and they had come to the same conclusion.
“These guys are going to do it for us,” the girl said, holding up a photo of her father.
“Are you okay with that?” she asked.
“Yes, I am,” the father said.
After that, I stopped to ask the man if he was willing to give me some of their pictures, but he refused.
“The photos are not going into our bank accounts,” he admitted.
“They’re going into someone’s Instagram account.”
I had come in to ask him a few questions about how he got his start in photography, and how he thinks of himself as a photographer.
“In a way,” he replied, “I think of myself as a journalist.
You know, I don’t have to worry about how I’m perceived, because I don`t think about that.
I just make stuff up.”
The first person I met was the photographer who took the photos of my father.
We talked for a few minutes, and I was surprised by the depth of his experience.
“Most of my photos are really mundane,” he started.
“My father is in this hospital and he’s been shot, and it’s his birthday, and his daughter is playing.
I think most of them are, you know, it’s just a photo.
He pointed to a photograph of his mother, who had died suddenly last year. “
But I do get a lot that comes out of that.”
He pointed to a photograph of his mother, who had died suddenly last year.
“She was standing on the corner, walking,” he recalled.
“One of her