Ally Almore is a freelance photographer currently based in my native Chicago. My identities and experiences growing up the city I call home have heavily influenced my practice. A self described light chaser and a time stopper- from a young age, a love of photography was developed. It began with family photo albums, and slowly expanded to images other families and friends had. Soon after, I wanted to produce images and was borrowing my grandfather’s camera until I got my very own. I grew up in Pilsen, a vibrant neighborhood, but am a product of all over the city. My mother worked downtown, at a small business flower shop up until I graduated. On weekends, I’d visit when I was little, but when I got old enough I would stay to help out on holidays or days off of school. Sometimes I’d take pictures of pretty arrangements, or help decorate the store. Sometimes I’d explore the Loop or was sent off on an errand. I guess you can say my mother is the first person to introduce me to the elements of design, through her art of flower arrangements, and to the world with her willingness to share it with me. The more of the world I saw, the more I knew I wanted to be in it. I am a proud product of CPS, and went to high school in the gold coast, where I was exposed to other parts of the city as well as other parts of the country and world through the people I met. While there, I took AP photography classes and also was simultaneously enrolled in several photography classes at Marwen, a non-profit organization that provides free art classes to middle and high school aged Chicagoans.
"I was that girl in high school always with a camera in my hand. It's like once I picked it up and learned what I could do, I didn't want to stop. If someone wanted to find me, they knew I’d be in the photo lab.“
Through that program, I spent my last two summers of high school interning at the Museum of Contemporary Photography and The Chicago Artist Coalition respectively while working for Open Lands on several commissioned collaborative art pieces. There, I learned some of my building blocks for building up an artist community and it’s importance. After graduating, I briefly attended Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, GA for photography and documented my freshman year experience while there for Seventeen Magazine as a part of their Freshman Fifteen panel. It was while back in Chicago and looking to reignite my passion, I found community with F4F, a Black and femme focused DIY alternative space in the Little Village Neighborhood, and became their resident photographer. Since then, I’ve shot on the intersections of the queer nightlife, and arts scenes in Chicago and the impact that Black and Brown people have on this community. I love to intimately explore queerness and it’s place in nightlife and have shot for party collectives across the city such as A Queer Pride, smallWorld Collective, Swoon, Party Noire and was resident photographer for DURO.
“My queerness has always been a part of my identity. From an early age, I knew that about myself. It was never something I wanted to hide. I was out in middle school, and never looked back. I was never afraid to be myself or find other people like me“
During summer of 2018, I was in a photojournalist residency with Sixty Inches's Envisioning Justice program in partnership with Illinois Humanities. I’ve captured events for organizations such as the Chicago Abortion Fund, D-Composed, Chicago Women’s Foundation, University of Chicago’s Arts and Public Life, Open Television, Beauty Breaks, The Museum of Contemporary Art, The Field Foundation, Mystic Soul, The Unapologetically Brown Series, Chicago Therapy Collective, and RedBull. My work has appeared in Okay Africa, Dapper Q, Teen Vogue, Scapi Mag, The Red Bulletin, ICUQTS, The Chicago Tribune, Hoy, Sixty Inches, the cover of The Chicago Reader, and I was most recently a featured photographer for ATT’s “It’s a 312 Thing” citywide billboard campaign.
Aside from events, and photo documentation, I also do a lot of portrait work. A lot of which tends to explore a range of topics from gender identity and the levels of comfortability with one has with their outward gender expression and how people navigate in the intersections of queerness and racial identity. I aim to challenge societal ideologies of ‘every day beauty’ through my work. I currently live on the south side of Chicago with my family, including 3 cats and a beautiful Huskador. I spend my days shooting, dreaming up new photo projects, editing images and managing a jewelry store/event space called The Silver Room in Hyde Park. Some nights you can catch me shooting some of the best parties in queer nightlife that Chicago has to offer. I am a current member and resident photographer of smallWORLD Collective. I also teach photography courses at Marwen, aiming to inspire the next generation of photographers.