I had the opportunity to head to Chicago for a few days and shoot a story on Plan B, the day after pill that is used to terminate early early pregnancies.

In Chicago, the state is legally requiring pharmacies carry the pill, which is making local Christian pharmacy owners angry; angry enough to take the law to court. The circuit court is stuck between granting rights to the small business owner, and granting rights to the women that claim the pill should be offered everywhere. Or in other words, it’s the woman’s right to have the pill avaiable whenever and wherever they need it. A fight of rights so to say…

We interviewed local pharmacy owners, pharmacists, politicians, and some folks from a pro-choice group that helps stand for women’s reproductive rights. All very convincing arguments. It was refreshing to hear the voices of those fighting to uphold the freedom to make moral choices, protected by this country. Often times these things are too big, we couldn’t possibly make a difference. We walk the streets and see the desire for change, yet the plunge scares us like a child running away from home. We don’t even know where to start. These common citizens, business owners and women, took that plunge, diving head first into the courts, researching the laws, the topics, speaking intelligently about their freedoms and standing for them, no matter the negative or positive attention. Refreshing, and eye-opening.

Chicago was an interesting place. We spent most of our time in Naperville, a new face-lifted suburb of Chicago. Blocks were filled with new homes, big concrete hotels, and brick downtown squares. Everything was clean, and people walked quickly. We also ventured into historic downtown Chicago for an interview. Lots of old family run stores handed down over a few generations. Certain blocks were separated by ethnicity, which makes the whole place a mini-mart of unique, yet similarly weathered faces. My favorite was the Yugoslavian block. Older couples with brown wool scarves held hands as they wandered into little coffee shops. Young kids dressed in bright colors and see-through backpacks dove into 7-11’s on their way home from school, using pocket change to grab a Coke. Mom’s talked quickly on street corners in Yugoslavian, as they pushed their babies in strollers.

On our second night there we grabbed dinner at Girodinos (SP?), a famous Chicago deep dish pizza place. No Sbarro for us. Actually, the waiter told us that the restaurant will take domestic orders across the US, and ship half-cooked pizzas on dry ice. That’s the sign of good pizza I suppose; people paying nearly $100 for deep dish carryout.

I took a few pictures: rural Illinois, Chicago, Naperville. I’ve been shooting domestically a lot, so I haven’t had time to drop film off at Walgreens, but I’ll throw up some pictures soon. In the next few weeks I’m headed to nearly six or seven places. I’ll write about a few of the interesting ones.

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About Ryan Johnson

Ryan Johnson is a 25 year old remote disaster and humanitarian photographer and media liaison working for an international non-profit. Ryan has a B.S. in Radio/TV/Film and Religion and an M.A. in International Politics.

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