.The All Skokie Photo Project is not just about enhancing the contemporary photography collection of the Skokie Historical Society, promoting pride in Skokie and helping bridge the gap among people of different backgrounds. It is also about everyone getting creativity and having some fun as I, with other photographers, aim to make pictures of everyone in Skokie during the coming year. Granted, we might not get a picture of everyone who lives, works or goes to school here, or ever did live, work or go to school here, but we are aiming to invite them all to participate.
The plan is that on May 22, 2010, I'll make the first photograph, an aerial group picture of everyone gathered for the opening ceremonies at the Festival of Cultures at Oakton Park, which start at 1 p.m. Cross your fingers that we'll have good weather. Plan B is to make the photo sometime on Sunday.
Launching the project at Festival of Cultures is ideal as this year it celebrates its 20th anniversary. This also happens to be a census year. Skokie will not only be documented statistically, but photographically too.
Soon after the launch, the aerial group photograph will be printed very large, approximately 7 x 5 feet, and exhibited at the Skokie Heritage Museum. The exhibition is tentatively scheduled to start in early August and continuing through Fall. It would be viewable at an opening reception, during regular museum hours and Skokie's Backlot Bash and other civic events.
Throughout the year there will be other shoots: more large scale group shoots, shoots at the Farmers' Market, block parties, parades, schools, senior centers, workplaces and other place in Skokie. Just to elaborate on a couple now, I'm hoping to do large group pictures at Niles North's and Niles West's homecomings. Hoping to get permission to shoot on the Skokie Swift train and at the station.
Some great images will be made of families, friends, neighbors, students, workers, worshipers and others. The images will be beautiful, funny, revealing, unusual--and all valuable.
Emphasis will be placed on documenting real people as they really are.
Images will be exhibited online via a new website being developed, SkokieNet and in public spaces throughout the Village as soon as possible after each shoot.
Skokie is known for its diversity, but we've only scratched the surface in understanding how diverse and rich we are. People in Skokie have so many great stories to share and this project has the potential to bring them forward. I think that even the biggest fans of Skokie and those who've lived or worked here the longest will be able to say that they learned something new about the Village or someone in it through this project.
Inclusivity is an important feature of this project in order for the archive to be most relevant now and 100 years from now and continue to be maintained. Every person, business and school will be invited to get involved in some way.
I'm excited to see how Skokie folks embrace this project and get involved. I've been conceptualizing this project for a long time and doing a lot of homework in order to make it a reality. That said, there's so much more homework to do. I welcome everyone's input and ideas. I also welcome everyone's help. We are working on identifying sponsors, contributors, endorsers, collaborators and friends.
The growing list of official supporters includes the Illinois Arts Council through the Skokie Fine Arts Commission; the Skokie Park District; SkokieNet; the Village of Skokie; Print Xpress and my own company Kring Lerner Group. Friends of the All Skokie Photo Project already include Erica Mui, Aleks Krapivkin, Scott Holtz, Frances Roehm, Rick Moskovitz, Linda Quinn, Angeles "Jelly" Carandang, Rachel Taxman, Rebecca Taxman, Erica Minchella, Richard Reeder, Sally Chapralis, Ken Kring, Nancy Kring Corbige, and Joel Lerner.
I think this project has will be fun for everyone involved as we rock Skokie and beyond.
Facebook users can RSVP for shoot #1, the launch at the Festival of Cultures, on the Facebook event page.