Joe is about as Chicago as Chicago gets. "I was born on a kitchen table at 63rd and Stewart in 1958," is the quintessentially South Side way Joe describes his entry into the world.
His family later moved to Bridgeport, and then the Marquette Park area in 1970. He graduated from Eberhart Elementary School and Hubbard High School. A lifelong lover of the outdoors and wildlife, he later studied horticulture at Richard J. Daley College.
While Joe's dad was a photo enthusiast, Joe's involvement with photography was a little more laid back---and he did not get seriously involved in the art until 2008, as a personal and therapeutic way to respond to a colon cancer diagnosis.
"Fortunately, the cancer was caught in time and I didn't have to undergo any treatment," Joe observes. "But it did make me realize how short life can be. I try to get the most out of every day and will be out there taking photos. I also read about everything I shoot so I can learn their habits: what they will do next, what they like to eat and where and how they sleep."
In recent months, Joe relocated from the Southwest Side to the Chicago Ridge area, where he is closer to his favorite place to shoot nature photos---the Lake Katherine Nature Center & Botanic Gardens in Palos Heights.
Spurred on by the encouragement of family, friends, fellow photographers and even complete strangers who have admired the excellence of his work, Joe has started selling prints (framed and unframed) of his best work---on traditional photo paper, on canvas and even on wood.
Joe also does weddings, portrait photography and more.
To learn more, go to www.facebook.com/JKirkPhoto.
At six minutes, 34 seconds, the SWCP conversation with Joe is a little longer than we expected. But like a lot of people, we're impressed with his talent and work and wanted to include as much of it as we reasonably could.
You can find the video on the Southwest Chicago Post channel on YouTube.
# # #