Scott Barnes died Sept. 9 while at the Out at the Park Six Flags Great America event in the Chicago suburbs. He was 50.
Windy City Times was notified of his death via Facebook postings.
At the time of his death, Barnes was the web content specialist and SEO editor for the American Medical Association ( AMA ) and a renowned professional photographer specializing in actor headshots, creative portrait sessions, male modeling portfolios, erotica, fine art and event/nightlife photography.
Barnes had a website dedicated to his photography work and life in general at ScottBarnesPhoto.com . His message to clients was, "As a photographer, I run into so many people with self-image problems but here's the deal; If I am photographing you, I think you are beautiful. It is that simple. Let's leave our hang-ups at the door and have a fun, inspiring photo shoot."
His photography has been featured in New York, Chicago, Quebec City, Miami and Indianapolis art galleries as well as in books and calendars.
Barnes was born Sept. 12, 1966, n Michigan City, Indiana, and spent his childhood there. He received his Bachelor of Arts in journalism and political science at Indiana University-Bloomington and was a member of Sigma Delta Chi, the honorary journalism fraternity.
While living in Indianapolis, Indiana, Barnes was an online content editor at Wiley, production editor at Macmillan and quality manager at Volt Information Sciences. He moved to Chicago in August 2015 to embark on a new life for himself and soon found a job as the web content SEO editor for Creative Circle. Barnes left that position three months ago to take the job at the AMA.
A recent post on Barnes' blog noted he was still searching for his artistic tribe. He had planned to immerse himself in art by attending more gallery openings, galas and lectures and get involved with the Chicago theater scene, specifically the Steppenwolf Theater, this coming fall and winter.
He is survived by his brother Steve ( wife Sue ); sister Diane ( husband Pat ); sister Dawn ( husband John ) and brother Doug ( wife Jerra ). His parents, Lyle and Betty Barnes, preceded him in death. He is also survived by his former partner, Jay Howard Cook and Brian Loomis, his current companion.
Barnes was a Best Emerging Artist nominee at the GLAAD Art Auction in 2011 in New York. He was also a volunteer for the NCAA swimming and diving championship and Indiana Youth Group prior to moving to Chicago.
"Scott was my companion, best friend and 'buddy' for 17 years," said Cook. "His eye for photography was, in my opinion, unmatched. He could take someone that the world would pass by, and turn them into a work of art. I will miss his laughter and zest, his skills in the kitchen, his taste in clothing and his love of old movies and TV shows. What I will miss the most is his love and care. I have a hole in my heart that will never be filled. Scott's death is a huge loss, not only for Chicago, but for the city of Indianapolis where he lived for over 20 years. I have not slept since learning of his death. His family has asked me to give his eulogy, and I am beyond honored and humbled by this family's request. I love my Scotty and I will love for him since he cannot."
"Scott was a bright light to everyone who had the privilege of knowing him," said Loomis. "He loved to laugh and was always a pleasure to be with. You could not ask for a better or more loyal friend. When Scott got excited his eyes would light up wide and he would smile and giggle like a boy at Christmas. If you were ever having a tough time, Scott was always there with a warm smile, bear hugs and a scrumptious meal. Scott was serious about his photography and it is reflected in his stunning works. His amazing photos and winning personality made him a local celebrity, but Scott was always down to earth. It is hard to imagine a life without Scott; he will be missed immensely by his friends and family."
"The thing about Scott is he was one of the most giving artists I knew," said friend Marc Moder. "Constantly trying to push himself to not only go further in his art but to further all other artists he could help and partner with no matter what the medium: music, video and/or photos. And I really encouraged him to move to Chicago to flesh out his real dream of being a full time photographer because he was getting stagnant in Indianapolis. I really think he was finding his spark before his passing."
"Scott was a friendly optimistic guy who assimilated easily in his new city," said his friend Greg O'Neill. "He really hit his stride when he moved here from Indianapolis. Scott was well liked among his colleagues at the American Medical Association and made many friends and connections through his talent as a photographer of the male physique. While it is a devastating loss for his friends, it was wonderful that this happy guy left us happy, surrounded by friends and laughter. What else could we all hope for ourselves."
"Scott was a kind, well-natured man and a good friend," said Andrew Miller. "He was able to successfully balance both a corporate career and a career as a professional photographer. I was honored to work with him professionally and know him personally. I remember the care he took when shooting my sister's wedding and the grace he showed when interacting with people uncomfortable in front of the camera. He was always supportive and will be terribly missed."
Barnes' memorial service will take place at the Geisen-Carlisle Funeral & Cremation Services 613 Washington St. Michigan City, Indiana with the viewing on Friday, Sept. 15 in the afternoon and evening and the funeral on Saturday, Sept. 16.
For those who cannot travel to Indiana, a memorial service will be held at Barnes' favorite local bar Elixir in Andersonville Wednesday, Sept. 20 from 7 to 9 p.m. www.facebook.com/events/1033964130078572. The organizers ask that attendees RSVP on the Facebook page due to the size of the bar. Additionally, there will be a showing of his work at The SoFo Tap in Andersonville beginning Wednesday, Oct. 18 (launch party time TBD) to Friday, Dec. 1.
There will also be a showing of his work at The SoFo Tap, 4923 N. Clark St. Details TBA.