Chicago photographer & director John Gress has spent his career with one foot in two different realms of photography: commercial and editorial. As if that wasn’t enough, he has now begun to direct music videos, commercials and corporate documentaries. His unique resume has allowed him to develop a dynamic style that produces striking visuals whether they are produced in the real world or in his Evanston, Illinois studio.
As a commercial photographer, Gress has worked on advertising and public relations campaigns for many Fortune 500 companies. His clients and marketed brands have included Airborne, Avon, Ben & Jerry’s, Best Buy, Burger King, Chrysler, Cialis, Clairol, Dodge, ESPN, Hyatt Hotels, Hershey, Hyundai, Lexus, Lufthansa, Mattel, Merck, Microsoft, Midas, Miller Coors, Nabisco, Nike, Ocean Spray, Reebok, S.C. Johnson, Sam Adams. Film and video clients have included Hyatt Hotels, Justus Clothing, various recording artists and NPR.
Chicago Photographer Gress’ work as a photojournalist has appeared in major publications around the world, including Der Spiegel, Le Monde, Time, The New York Times, The Times of London, The Washington Post, and Sports Illustrated. His assignments have included the 2010 Stanley Cup, the 2008 election of President Barack Obama, the 2007 Southern California wildfires, the 2006 Super Bowl, and the 2005 World Series. In 2007, he was named a finalist for the National Press Photographers Association’s The Best of Photojournalism Sports Photojournalist of the Year competition.
Gress arrived in Chicago in 2003 after having worked as a Portland, Oregon-based freelance photojournalist since 2001, regularly handling assignments for Agence France-Presse, Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, USA Today and People magazine. From 2000-2001, he was a staff photographer for The Topeka Capital-Journal, where his subjects included the University of Kansas basketball team, the Kansas City Chiefs, and state government figures. Previously, from 1996-2000, he was a freelance photojournalist for the Associated Press, covering the Portland Trail Blazers, the USA Track and Field Championships, the 1998 World Cup, and various natural disasters across the Pacific Northwest.
Gress’ interest in photography began in his native Oregon when, at age 14, he took his mother’s Vivitar point-and-shoot camera to summer camp. He enrolled in his first photography class during freshman year of high school, and by his senior year was covering major events for the Associated Press. In 2000, he received a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Portland State University.