We had the good fortune of connecting with Eric Boockford and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Eric, how does your business help the community?
I will provide some background but mainly want to highlight other organizations in Chicago that Inspire me.

Everything that I do falls under my name. My day job, my creative business and all that I do with my time and energy throughout the city all flows up to my name.

I started small volunteer events at work prior to becoming the Philanthropist of the Year for the entire country within my respective department. I was the volunteer chair for Chicago’s Mid-America Club’s Young Executive Committee before taking over the committee as well as joining the board itself to further expand on those objectives. It also become my personal goal to highlight and shine light on the true revolutionary movements in Chicago.

An equal amount of beauty and destruction will occur on our last days of life. So many people died fighting for a world they envisioned for future generations. I think that will be the case for our generation and many others to come. As an individual we are likely not going to change the world, no Instagram post is going to cure societies ailments but we can start to research our own cities and pinpoint where we can make an impact.

Chicago is a different breed. Unfortunately, people only hear about Chicago in the news but it is such a complex city to understand. We need to nourish and provide love to the youth, we need healthy, accessible and affordable food in Chicago, we need funding in under resourced neighborhoods for after school programs, treatment centers and so much more. The result of these basic level needs would take years for results to thrive but we have short termed thinkers serving long terms and overfunding recourses that just create more issues.

Street photography plays a major role in what I do. That also means I am a witness to a society that time after time continues to drive many black and brown people out on the streets. There are people in Chicago that wake up each day fighting back and providing resources that the city ignores. I play a very small role but it is my goal to continue to highlight these organizations.

If I make a recommendation about an organization, that means I have showed up there multiple times with intent and purpose and impressed with what they do. As a leader in this city, It is important that I strengthen bonds with these true leaders of Chicago. I highly encourage people to get outside their comfort and built connections in the South and West side of Chicago.

The following organizations are a must visit here in Chicago:

Healthy Hood Chicago
Urban Growers Collective
Pilsen Food Pantry
The Bloc Chicago
Read Write Library
By The Hand

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I bring a very unique vision to the photography world. I am sure that is what every photographer says but my vision stands out. What I need to continue to improve on is how I capture this vision. Especially quicker when on the streets. I love drone work because it is an extension of that vision and an extension that reaches great heights and perspectives. I am the full package as a human. I have found ways to work around the things that come difficult and actually think the alternative routes of acquiring those skills/knowledge is another component adding to the peculiarity of my mind. I truly think my severe dyslexia is part of the reason I view the world upside down first and part of the reason I love reflection shots so much. I realized It’s not an attention problem that I have either… it’s that I pay so much attention to detail that I cannot simply focus on one thing. Especially if its not in line with my core.

I have a short-film coming out called Quest of the Shadow Dragon from my trip to Iceland, I have prints being framed, I started shooting 35mm film, I have drones shots for a documentary coming out on Urban Growers Collective, I have NFT collections open and upcoming, so much more in store

I am true believer that one should shoot with what they have within there own surroundings. I developed my eye with a cell phone for years until there was no doubt that It was time to invest in myself. Time after time I asked myself what is the point of all this but now I am so deep in the game that I will die with a camera in my hand. If I can say one thing, it would be to shorten the time between a good idea and bringing it to life. We are all present in many of the same room but who actually applies the knowledge gets brought on stage. Those who can make their ideas tangible are true artists.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Chicago holds it down. The best part about Chicago is easily the neighborhoods. I don’t own a car so bike and train for me. I see it all, I taste it all and experience as much as I can. Anthony Bourdain was a huge inspiration for me. He is the reason the first time I ever rode a scooter was in the madness of Hanoi Vietnam. In Chicago, get familiar with Pilsen, Chinatown, West Loop, Wicker Park, Humboldt Park, Logan Square, Hyde Park, the list goes on. I love riding my bike along the bike path especially heading south. Catch a movie/music in the park at the Millennium Park Pavilion, watch the sunset at the Planetarium, Ice Skate around the Maggie Dailey Park Ribbon, Farm at Urban Growers Collective South Farm, Visit the imnotArt NFT gallery for a weeknight party, find your way to the SoHo house for brunch, Hit the Milwaukee strip in Wicker or head out to Garfield Park Conservatory for a whole other world experience immersed in plants. One thing about my travels is that I do a lot of research. Sort of have to when traveling to places like Indonesia, Cuba, Iceland or any place by yourself. I realized that this amount of attention to cities should also exist here where we live. People travel across the world just to take a selfie at the bean. I am footsteps away from where people want to be. Pretty cool!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
So much of what I do on the creative side has been an individual journey. I want to thank my family for the foundation of love and safety. My mother was actually the first photographer I studied. She would take insane photos at our sporting events and give them out to people later in the season. A phase of creativity in her life but a gift I will treasure for life. They were lowkey fire! That being said, I needed to break from traditional thinking and words in general. David Gates “Dunedogs” is an amazing musician who I spent years envisioning a world less bound to the illusions of reality. I think David was one of my first paid gigs. It was a breakfast sandwich but after shooting it was all I wanted. Victoria Lover’s existence alone brought me from twiddling my fingers on the bench to the point where if I’m not in the game you’re gonna notice. Chris Burkard is a photographer that legitimately makes me smile so hard knowing my life can have that much adventure because of my camera and Tori Torsion is an insane photographer in Chicago that has ramped up my photography journey. Shooting film and printing out photos now because of Tori. To Megan Troglio for an energy only the wind can translate and her simply saying I believe in you is a reason to keep pressing on. Tiffany Leard, what a human that has grown so much in front of my eyes! Talk about energy and the ability to play a piano that will fill seats across the world. To Carolyn Gelwick for painting with me in her studio and sharing her supplies as much as she could before she passed. There are many others but I truly need to thank my past, present and future self for all that I do to fight for what and who I love in this crazy world.

Website: https://linktr.ee/ericbooc

Image Credits
Eric Boockford Tori Torsion Nick Moody Emma Azanger

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