sweet home chicago
Chicago Blackhawks center Dave Bolland hoists the Stanley Cup to hundreds of thousands of cheering fans Friday, June 28, 2013 during the team’s championship celebration rally in Grant Park.
I’m proud of this picture because it didn’t just happen. Sometimes all the headaches of remote cameras pay off.
When the City of Chicago announced the location of Friday’s Blackhawks celebration rally, I pictured the photo possibilities from that area of Grant Park. I immediately thought about the great view of the city skyline facing north from the south stage during Lollapalooza. This stage would be in the same place, so I thought about the view from the back that would include the team the foreground leading up to the massive crowd and then the city. I photographed this event in 2010 and knew the best photo would come at the end when the team takes turns holding up the Stanley Cup and confetti flies.
I asked Tribune director of photography Todd Panagopoulos to begin talking to the city on Tuesday about permission to mount the camera. They came through and with the help of several city employees who went out of their way to help we were able to make it happen.
We were told that we’d have to mount the camera on Thursday night and wouldn’t be able to adjust or turn it on Friday morning because of a security lock down. This led to me spending most of eight hours in Grant Park on Thursday waiting for the stage to be constructed and calculating how long camera batteries might last or whether I could run it off an external source. The workers eventually realized when the backdrop banner finally arrived that they had the wrong size pole supports and wouldn’t be able to hang it until Friday morning. This was a problem for me because the only thing on the stage higher than four feet was going to be this banner, and if my camera wasn’t mounted to the side of it would be blocked by the dozens of other people on stage.
Fortunately the city came through with permission for me to arrive early Friday morning and at 6:30 a.m. I was in a forklift at the top of the banner. From the photo pit during the rally I couldn’t tell what the camera was capturing or even if it was still on, so it was a big relief to climb up afterwards and see that everything had come together pretty much just how I had hoped.
This image and all of our great team Tribune coverage is meaningful to me not just because it makes Chicago look awesome, but because it shows our value as photojournalists. In light of everything that’s happened in our local media lately, I hope the photography shows how important images are in recording and sharing in one of our city’s proudest sports moments.