Be Our Guest: Hidden Cheer

In Inspiration
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We’re pleased to welcome guest photographer Nancy Giampietro. Nancy began taking photographs with her iPhone, moved to digital and is now having a major moment with film and vintage 80s cameras.  Her instagram is

Last month I took a trip to Chicago’s storied Central Camera Co where I randomly spied a small stack of business cards from the Old Orchard Aquarium – an aquarium store just a few miles from my home on the outskirts of Chicago.

I’ve passed this place hundreds and hundreds of times without a thought – honestly, on the outside it looked a bit foggy and cramped and was situated in an anonymous strip mall.

But wagering it was photography friendly, I made a stop on a particularly cold January afternoon – January being a rough month for some of us – to see if I could find some local color and inspiration. It did not disappoint.  Among the murmuring rows of tanks and filters, thousands of fish swam within their tiny, precise oceans.  Some fish preened and posed and seemed to say, you watch us; well, we are watching you, too.  Other creatures were escape artists – flashes of neon darting through the black waters, challenging my always evolving photography skills.

The usual suspects abound:   sea urchins,  anemones,  exotic shrimp.  Other new discoveries were spotted puffers, baby clownfish, dwarf placos, and purple sea cucumbers.

The friendly, fish-loving aquarists allowed me to return several times without questions and offered to wipe the glass down for photographs or alert me to a particular situation – a courtship dance or an angelfish lip lock.  There was a certain vibe to the place – the slight smell of algae, 80s rock seemed to be always playing,  and both customers and staff – young and old – seem to be coming and going at all times.

Discovering this charming, luminous reef world not far from my home gave me a brief and hopeful shot of color, light and cheer that reminded me of things to come in a few months.

What hidden, strange and beautiful worlds might you find in your neck of the woods?

Do you want to Be Our Guest?  Leave us a comment below with a link to your blog, Instagram account, or other place you post your images.  You can also add a hashtag to your IG images: #viewfindersio_beourguest.

See you soon.

xo lucy

1 Comment

  1. That first image is so beautiful! You should frame that! I love this idea of finding beauty close to home. That’s my jam!

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