The Blog of Bart Harris - Chicago Photographer

Celebration Of A Life Well Lived – Sunday, June 11 2017

May 31st, 2017

For those of you who knew my wife of 47 years, Andrea Harris, my family members or me, please share some time with Andrea’s friends and family at Foreman Pavilion at 2121 N. Stockton Drive in Lincoln Park (next to Brauer Cafe in the zoo) on Sunday, June 11 starting at 10am.

It is a celebration of Andrea’s amazing life which ended April 2017 after a valiant battle with ovarian cancer.

We will remember her, hear an original song written for her by Grant Fallon and I would love to hear you tell a story about your time with Andrea.

Foreman Pavilion is .4 mile south of LaSalle Street and .4 mile north of Fullerton Ave. in Chicago and on the west side of Lincoln Park Zoo. I will announce her legacy “Andrea’s Hope Foundation” which will benefit those in hospice, ovarian cancer research and palliative care and clinical trials at Northwestern Memorial Hospitals Lurie Cancer Center.

Andrea’s accomplishments were many and varied, from becoming one of Chicago’s best known and loved artists to representing Illinois in the 1980 Winter Olympic Torch relay, she was one of a kind.

Please call me, Bart Harris, for additional info. (773) 975-0070

Photographing Newborn Twins

April 27th, 2015

I have loads of 5 Star Reviews but oddly, a number of these wonderful reviews have been removed by the online directory that so many of us use daily to find services like mine. This directory does not trust first time reviewers so remarks like the one Jane posted on my ad, have been taken down soon after posting because the writers had never submitted a review before mine… bummer. What follows below is a wonderful compliment posted by a new mom of two beautiful fraternal twins, whose heartfelt comments I wish to share with you.

To set the scene for her review: I love photographing newborn babies and have worked hard to make newborn and baby photography a special part of my portrait photography. It takes a great deal of patience to consistently capture beautiful studio portraits of brand spanking new babies, patience by the photographer (me) and the parents. Infants definitely have their own agenda and producing great photographs time after time requires not only patience, but also exceptional timing. Imagine trying to photograph month old twins in an artful way. It is not easy and it is particularly time consuming, but it is hugely rewarding. Please read the review from this wonderful first time mother of two. This featured photograph is the image Jane refers to; the other images are just a few of the hundreds I made that day.

“I normally do not post reviews, but I felt it necessary to share our experience with Bart Harris Photography. In the weeks leading up to our twins’ arrival, my husband and I obsessively searched for the perfect photographer to capture our newborns’ first days. We found that each photographer we contacted limited the photo session to an hour or two and charged an exorbitant price for the rights to the digital images.  Thankfully, we found and booked Bart! 

Never having a child before, we quickly learned that the perfect picture of your beautiful newborn is VERY difficult to achieve in between crying fits, dirty diapers and feeding breaks (times 2!). Bart spent over 6 hours photographing our babies!! In those six hours, he was able to capture countless moments that NEVER would have been achieved in the 1-2 hours offered by other photographers.  One such photo is featured on Yelp of our girl smiling, while lying on top of her sleeping brother – this was taken after hour #4! I should further mention that we also have electronic access to each of the +400 photos taken that day – you will find this is not offered by other photographers. 

Thank you to Bart for your exceptional work!


Jane W.   3/27/15

Copyright 2015 Bart Harris Photography

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Newborn Photography: Part of My History

April 14th, 2014

With a half century of advertising agency experience, I have had great opportunities to work on hundreds of ad campaigns in various product categories. It was natural for me to photograph infants, toddlers and children of all ages as I cruise through a career that I never dreamed I would experience. I have always enjoyed kids, particularly babies.

A newborn child is a wonder and pregnancy is the most beautiful time in a woman’s life. Photographing newborn infants and maternity portraits are a source of joy for me. I have an extensive history photographing newborns, infants and toddlers beginning with my work for Gerber Baby Food national ads for J Walter Thompson Advertising forty years ago. Through the years I have done extensive photography featuring babies for national ad use by MacDonald’s (Happy Meal advertisements and in-store posters), Mam Pacifiers featuring newborn infants and toddlers,  General Mills Cereals, Kelloggs Cereals, Pampers and many other companies that feature infants and toddlers in their marketing.

The real key to successful newborn photography is patience. Babies definitely have their own personalities, but as parents quiclky learn, they have their own schedules as well. A beautiful photograph of a young child requires patience and the photographer who can respond during that fleeting moment of beauty will always capture a timeless moment.

One of my favorite projects was directing a 60 second TV commercial for StaPuff Fabric Softener featuring a two week old newborn and young mother during a “typical” day consisting of quiet, loving moments between mother and child. We were able to cast identical twin girls who we used alternated in front of the camera (in order to avoid stress during the course of a long day of filming.) We cast a young actress named Robin Douglass who had just achieved notice as the female lead in the feature film “Breaking Away”. The project began as a “test” commercial for Foote, Cone and Belding advertising Agency. The commercial was so successful in testing that it ran as I shot it, on national tv for more than a year. It is dated, but still means a lot to me,please click on this link to view:

My love of digital photography began in early 1995 and the immediacy of image viewing and editing makes it ideal for photographing children in general and newborn infants even more so. In the pre-digital dark ages you never really were sure of what your photographs really captured when prying to capture a fleeting expression on someone’s face. Nowhere else is this more uncertain than the expressions that flash accross a young babies face. Gas can create what appears to be the most beatific smile, or frown. Sometimes it’s almost impossible to discern the difference. The ability to see what you have captured as you shoot is the greatest benefit of digital photography.

A Great Side Benefit of Healthcare Photography

August 19th, 2013
Healthcare Photographer - Doctor Photography

Dr. Joseph Kirsner ©Bart Harris

As a professional photographer I meet a lot of people in various walks of life. Occasionally I have the opportunity to meet and photograph someone who is truly one of a kind. Because I often work in and around hospitals I meet many people who are dedicated, highly educated and committed to helping others. A couple of years ago I spent a delightful hour photographing a doctor named Joseph Kirsner, possibly the most unique human being I have ever met. He was a physician, teacher and researcher at the University of Chicago Medical Center. At the time, he was still spending two days a week at his office consulting and mentoring, even though he needed the help of a walker to get around. He lived several blocks from the hospital, but walked to and from his office by himself. For most of us that isn’t particularly unusual, but Dr. Kirsner became an MD in 1933. Sorrowfully, he passed away after nearly 75 years as a physician. He was 100 years old when I met him and was as alert and bright as many physicians fifty years younger. He was nearly 103 when he passed away and had been working until he himself need hospitalization. When I met him, Dr. Kirsner bore a striking resemblance to George Lucas’ famous film character, Yoda, but Dr. Kirsner was no doubt wiser and more personable. It was fun to share a moment with him and as I might have guessed before I met him, he seemed as interested in my digital cameras as I was in learning about his extraordinary life. He was an immunologist, geneticist, gastroenterologist and in great part developed the diagnosis and treatment of Chron’s disease. When I met him, he couldn’t have been five feet tall, but he was an absolute giant of a man.

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Three Landmark Cameras In My Life As A Chicago Photographer

August 16th, 2013

The three cameras that impacted my life and career could not have been more different. The Kodak Brownie Hawkeye my folks gave me for my tenth birthday in the 50’s was my first camera. It went on sale in 1949 and sold for $5.50. I had fun with it, but other than taking photos at holidays, that was about it. A couple of years later at the age of thirteen, a close friend, John Semmlow (now Dr. John Semmlow, a noted professor and scholar with a PHD in Bio Mechanical Engineering) showed me how to make photographic prints in his basement darkroom. It was love at first sight, I was hooked, I knew immediately photography would be my life. Watching that first print slowly appear on a blank sheet of paper was the coolest thing I had ever seen.

Chicago Professional Photographer


I immediately began saving money for the camera that fired my passion for photography, a used Graphlex Speed Graphic. It was a vintage press photographer’s camera that was introduced in 1940. With a retail price new in 1947 of $250, it was large, clumsy, complex and the film was awkward to use in 4″x5″ individually loaded film holders. The film was also expensive, but wow, I was a now a real photographer. I bought several other cameras in the next two years including a twin lens reflex and various inexpensive 35mm cameras, but the Brownie Hawkeye and the Speed Graphic were my first cameras.


Chicago Professional Photographer

The more recent watershed camera was my 1996 Kodak DCS460 digital single lens reflex. Slow by today’s standard, it took a couple of seconds to record the second and third image in a three frame burst and it took another 10 seconds to cycle to the next one, two or three frame bursts. My newest cameras shoot at a 10 frame per second rate and capture more than 40 frames at a time. Contrary to what was commonly thought about digital photography in ’96, the quality was amazing by any standards, including larger than 35mm film formats. I was one of the very first high end photographers in 1996 to jump on the digital bandwagon in spite of the daunting learning curve and the $28,000 cost of the camera. In addition to the camera’s cost, I invested another $30,000 in a new computer, memory and peripherals to make a complete transition away from film. I learned quickly  and found myself lecturing about digital photography to pro photographers and fourth year and graduate college students working toward college degrees in photography, often discovering a strange lack of interest in digital from many who argued against the transition away from traditional photography. I was convinced in 1996 that digital photography would inevitably replace film, I believed we had moved to the world of pixels. I didn’t think it would happen as fast as it has. I’m proud of the fact the fact that I was the first Chicago photographer working primarily with advertising agencies in 1996 to completely stop using film in favor of digital photography. What a rush! My first digital camera cost 5,100 times more than my first camera.

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OH MY GOD BART!!! They are amazing!!! Thank you so much for sharing these little morsels…LH, Shannon's Mommy
Thank you very much for the lovely photos! My husband and I love them all. Thanks for being so patient and making this experience amazing for all of us…S
I just realized as I am looking at these photos that I never wrote back to you. We LOVE the photos. They turned out great. Thanks for everything.KH, Mommy of Twin Newborns
We were so thrilled with everything- you and the pics! Lil man slept 9 hours last night; I might do a weekly photo session to get that kinda night. These pics are incredible, Wow. Just wow. Absolutely incredible!JP
We just love all of the images — you are truly the most talented photographer we have ever worked with!KM, Henry's Mom
Thank you for sending me the pictures. They turned out amazing. N…. and I are thrilled to have worked with you on capturing these precious moments.HM
I want to say thanks again for the beautiful photos of our sweet Stella. You did a fantastic job!! We are thrilled with the results.RA
J. and I are in love with the photos. Thanks so much for taking such beautiful photos of us. Working with you is a once in a lifetime experience!
L. & J.