St. Lucia and Jane Byrne

I photographed a band called St. Lucia this week. Great band- very danceable. Three of the band members are jazz musicians, moonlighting as a dance-pop band. The next day, I drove out to the suburbs to conduct a video interview with them. After the interview, I offered them a ride downtown. They got in my car and we headed into the city. Stuck in a traffic jam, Patty the keyboard player, asked me a very simple question- “Why, when I looked down at the beginning of the show, were there about a dozen photographers, but when I looked down half way through the show, you were the only one still there?”

I laughed and explained that they were now my captive audience until we reached our destination!! I explained the 3 song rule. They had no idea why they did that, and thought that was stupid. They volunteered that they thought there were much better opportunities for great pictures later in the show. As she was talking, Jean, the singer was texting their road manager asking why they did that. Not sure if it would do any good, but we can only hope!!

Jane Byrne, the first and only female Mayor of Chicago, died yesterday. She was a great person and a walking photo opportunity! In August of 1979, The Blues Brothers movie had wrapped filming here and the guys were booked to play at Chicagofest (a festival that Jane had started on the Lakefront.).

Mayor Jane Byrne with Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi as the Blues Brothers at Chicagofest on August 3, 1979 in Chicago,Il.


John Belushi asked me to come into their trailer before the show, as the Mayor was coming to visit. He told me to be ready for anything!! As  I raised my camera to take a picture of the three of them, he placed his hat on her head and his sunglasses on her face. One photo and she was gone!! We all had a good laugh about the incident. I went home that night and developed the film, saw the photo, and immediately made about a dozen prints to bring down for press purposes the next morning. The press people for the festival sent one over to City Hall for the mayor to see. About an hour later, we got a frantic phone call from her husband Jay, asking that the photo not be sent out, as it was not dignified enough! So the image sat in my files until the mayors photographer released her version of the image (she was standing right behind me) about 10 years later. It has always been one of my favorite images, as I think it shows a human side of a powerful person. RIP, Jane.

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