LoganSquarist wouldn’t be possible without the hard-working efforts of our dedicated staff. Hailing from all across the country, with a number of interests and professional aspirations, our team has one thing in common: a passion for Logan Square. Discover the people behind the scenes that bring you articles, events and more. The LoganSquarist Highlight showcases one of our staffers, their interests, aspirations and goals. Writer and photographer Erik Island just celebrated a year with us—learn more about him and see some of his recent work below!
What’s your role with LoganSquarist?
Officially I’m a photographer but I write articles from time to time.
Where are you from originally?
Born and raised South Sider from Chicago, defected in 2006. Still a Sox fan.
When did you join?
March 2017… I like to say May to people: I think May is when I felt like, “Yeah, I can do this.”
Do you do write and photograph professionally?
This is my first few months—I’m still figuring it out, so I wouldn’t label myself as a “professional.” Just like with writing articles, I’m enjoying the journey and trying to gain experience.
What do you do professionally and outside of LS?
I’m concentrating on my photography career while working on a documentary about Chicago’s North Side/South Side rivalries. I’ve also written four children’s books that should be self-published on Amazon by the fall season of this year.
What made you interested in volunteering for LS?
I finished physical therapy in February 2017 after losing the use of my legs due to an illness in 2016. I wanted to stay motivated and stay off the couch. So, I decided to take photos of murals around the city.
I Googled the iconic Chicago mural (2226 N. Milwaukee Ave.) and saw that the LoganSquarist had a list of murals in the neighborhood. They were also looking for photographers, so I figured why not? My iPhone and I have been hitting the streets ever since.
What is your favorite LS story you worked on?
I love all the events I’ve worked on, but the Caffe’ Umbria Grand Opening on Armitage is one of the first events where I really felt like a photographer: I’ve got my go-bag, with all of my iPhone camera accessories and my business cards in it. I brought my cousin Marcie along and we had a great time. I made a lot of connections that night, ones that have grown into friendships and leads for even bigger articles.
What is your favorite restaurant in Logan Square?
I love Tacos Garcia. I’ve been going there since I moved to Logan Square… I’m not much of a gourmand; I like my veggie burrito and steak tacos and watching telenovelas on the TV, even though my Spanish is lousy.
What’s your favorite thing to do in the neighborhood?
Meeting new people: I’m sort of introverted and LoganSquarist has really empowered me to talk to people. Name-dropping LoganSquarist has opened a lot of doors for me and gotten me out of my shell.
What has been the best part about joining the team?
The benefits have been numerous: I’m more confident about my writing and my photographs and I have a Flickr account full of photo albums. My dad used to take pictures of weddings for church members when I was a kid; he had this huge leather bag with an old-school camera, lenses and gear. He carried all that stuff around and took photos and he only charged people for film development. Both my parents care about their church and their community.
Now I get to give back to a neighborhood that has given me so much. I share my articles with my friends and family and I feel like this is another way for my dad and I to connect, to follow in his footsteps. Plus, I’ve gone down a pant size from walking everywhere.
Check out more of Erik’s stories and photos here.