Pritzker and the Plague
As a corporate location photographer with a specialization in politics I work often with State, City and National members of Government. This area of specialization has given me the honor to work with the last three Governors of the great state of Illinois. Pictured below former Illinois Governor Pat Quinn (2009-2015). I took this photo on October 25th 2011, while shooting for Chicago Ideas Week.
Former Governor Bruce Rauner (2015-2019) at his Inauguration on January 28th 2015. I had the very cool experience of working with Governor Rauner before his election during his campaign and one of the coolest experiences in my life was being one of two of his personal photographers throughout his inauguration. For three days in January 2015 I dressed in my best suits and stood outside my hotel room door at 6:30am waiting for Rauner to emerge with his team and start our 14 hour day of shadowing him on this exciting journey. To be the only photographer on the Inauguration stage was an awesome feeling I will not soon forget.
Which brings us to our current Governor J.B Pritzker. Who I have had the honor and pleasure of photographing many times over the last 7-10 years. Often through two of my favorite clients The Illinois Municipal League and the Illinois Holocaust Museum. The image below is last time I photographed him just before the arrival of the Coronavirus on December 17th, 2019 where he was speaking to large group of Mayors from all across the state.
I have even had the experience of being in "The Blue Room" with him which is the room at the Thompson Center where his daily Covid briefings are aired. Which brings us to the whole point of this post. Life during Covid-19. Today is day 26 of our state issued shelter in place. Sadly our most deaths recorded in a 24 hour period today of 125 bringing our total state death toll to 1072 today. A sad day. I however must say its a good time to be an Illinoisan. Govenor Pritzker has been an amazing reassurance during this unbelievable life experience. He has provided a daily briefing everyday at 2:30pm consistancely since the start. I have found these briefings to bring much comfort to me. He always seems as informed as possible. He works hard to be transparent with exact numbers. His willingness to stand up, accept and answer tons of questions posed to him with numbers, facts and empathy has made it so much less scary. I trust in his leadership and commitment to the people of Illinois more than I ever could have imagined.
Governor Pritzker THANK YOU. I will never be able to express my gratitude for your Empathy, Dedication and Drive to lead and serve the people of Illinois through one of the most frightening experiences of my 40 years on this planet.
Governor Pritzker speaking from the podium of "The Blue Room" in happier times on 10.10.19.
It gives me comfort to have been in that room I tune to religiously everyday to get the most reliable, recent information regarding our local and state status during the pandemic. Governor Pritzker's demeanor is serious, strong, passionate and empathetic. The qualities of a true leader. He is shining in these dark times. His visability, efforts and information during this horrific experience has been a light in the night.
Many of my cooler, notable photographic experiences I've shared with Governor Pritzker. Below is one of them. This shot I took of him moderating a talk with Former 1st Lady Laura Bush for the Illinois Holocaust Museum. She was cool. I loved meeting 1st Lady Laura Bush.
In 2016 we both got to hang out with Leon Panetta who if you don't know is Former Secretary of Defense, Director of the CIA, White House Chief of Staff and the sweetest, constantly smiling guy you have ever met. Not what you would expect. It was a pleasant surprise, I immediately wished he was my Grandpa.
Photo above taken by the Amazing Ron Gould.
Below is a 2015 photo I took of Governor Pritzker for the Illinois Holocaust Museum.
Then there was that time we got to meet Henry Kissinger Former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor. Kissinger was my first Secretary of State but not my last.
Being a photographer has really been an exciting, interesting and information packed experience.
Thank you Governor Pritzker for being a part of it for so long and for being such a Devoted and Diligent Leader. I love you.