This has been a record year for small businesses in Lake Forest, according to Susan Kelsey, Lake Forest’s economic development coordinator. “In the past 20 months, 25 businesses have opened in Lake Forest. The remaining are opening up before the end of this year and early next year."
"The city has been streamlining the process for new businesses and we hope that is one reason they are opening so fast,” Kelsey said.
Bloom & Focus, Kerri Sherman’s photography studio and gallery, is one of Lake Forest’s newest businesses, opened on October 11.
Sherman, a Lake Forester for the last seven years, said it wasn’t hard to follow her passion despite the slowly recovering national economy. She knew she had something unique to offer – a space to foster creativity in the community and a new outlook on photography.
“I love how beautiful and charming this community is,” she said. “I love the people. It’s so friendly and welcoming, and people are so involved with their families.” Sherman said her own family, including her two children, come first, and she loves the flexibility of owning her own business.
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Sherman’s work is already known in the Lake Forest community. Her exhibition, “Coveted,” is on display at the Re-Invent Gallery through November 10. The work includes gritty photos of enviable items such as a behind-the –scenes look at the making of Academy Awards and Golden Globes at the R.S Owens & Company factory in Chicago.
“Part of what I love about photography is how fast you can capture something, moments you wouldn’t think would be beautiful,” she said.
“I’ve been shooting and doing commissions for the last three years, and the opportunity came up to have a lovely space in town,” Sherman said.
Her discovery of the space in Market Square was serendipitous. “I noticed the space in Market Square and called to ask if it was available. I had a vision for it,” she said. “We really opened it up to make it feel like a studio.”
Sherman wants Bloom & Focus to be known as a multi-faceted space to learn and create in Lake Forest. “I want people to come in, look at the gallery and ask questions,” she said. Besides commissions and in-studio portraits, Bloom & Focus hosts creative gatherings and classes.
Sherman’s documentary style of photography was developed during her time as a film editor at Red Car in Chicago. “I stopped editing years ago,” she said. “[Photography] is a new path for me.” Sherman has even found a fresh perspective for family portraits, avoiding stale posing and instead allowing for personality to reveal itself.
“I follow the kids and families around and find those moments, whether it’s the interaction of siblings or the emotions on their faces,” she said. “I just let them feel comfortable and get them laughing.”
Sherman loves the opportunity to not only capture those moments, but also to learn from her subjects and discover new interests. “You meet people all the time and see their interests,” she said. A commission she worked on just before Bloom & Focus opened led Sherman to develop an interest in Chinese art, for example.
Bloom & Focus is holding an open house to welcome Lake Foresters into the space following the annual tree lighting ceremony. “I invite everyone to warm up, have a taste of wine and come see my space,” Sherman said.
Bloom & Focus is located at 2 Market Square Court in Lake Forest. For more information and to see Sherman's work, drop in or visit the website.