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John Starks

Staff Photographer
  • Phone(847) 769-4930
  • Emailjstarks@dailyherald.com
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John Starks has been a staff photographer with the Daily Herald since 1997. He worked for eight years in the Arlington Heights Office Center and currently calls the Elgin bureau his home base, although most shifts are spent working from his car.

Prior to the Daily Herald, he worked as a staff photographer for the Northwest Herald in Crystal Lake, The Lorain Morning Journal near Cleveland, and The Monroe Evening News in Michigan. The Evening News was one of the nation's last evening-delivered daily newspapers. He also worked as a staff writer for the Sturgis Journal in Michigan, covering police, county government, and features.

He started his career in the late 1980s shooting black-and-white film that was hand rolled, and hand processed. Prints were made in chemical trays in a darkroom. He was among the first newspaper photojournalists in the Chicago area to fully change all aspects of his daily work to digital.

He has covered three national political conventions and photographed every U.S. President since Richard Nixon, when, as fourth-grader on a family vacation, he pushed the button of his box camera as the disgraced president left the White House for the last time.

He considers coverage of the 1995 Major League Baseball World Series a highlight of his career. He also photographed Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls as they won the NBA Championship in 1998. He also covered each of the Chicago Bears, Blackhawks, White Sox and Cubs playoff appearances in the last decade. John was the on-site photo editor for the Daily Herald coverage team in 2003 when the famous Steve Bartman incident happened at Wrigley Field. He also traveled twice to New Orleans to cover the Hurricane Katrina devastation in 2005.

He has won more than 120 national, regional and state awards for news, features, sports, portraits, pictorials, sports portfolio, and nature photographs, as well as videography.

John graduated with a journalism degree from Central Michigan University. He is a member of the National Press Photographers Association and the Illinois Press Photographers Association.

He and his wife have two kids and own a children's book publishing company.

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Wheaton bell choir helps ring in the holidays

Dec 14 2014 | 6:07 pm - The St. Matthew United Church of Christ Bell Choir performed a haunting version the Leonard Cohen classic “Hallelujah” for a full house at the Wheaton church on Sunday.

Air Force band delights with holiday concert in St. Charles

Dec 14 2014 | 4:35 pm - The United States Air Force Band of Mid-America has performed for U.S. presidents, foreign royalty, Pope John Paul II, and hundreds of world leaders. On Sunday afternoon, they played holiday classics for a packed house of suburbanites in St. Charles.

Gurnee church hosts Breakfast with Baby Jesus

Dec 13 2014 | 5:46 pm - Instead of Breakfast with Santa, families celebrated Christmas with a Breakfast with Baby Jesus Saturday at Immanuel Church in Gurnee. It featured a waffle breakfast for more than 300 people, while more than 30 characters from the story of the birth...

Santa takes back seat to huskies in St. Charles

Dec 07 2014 | 4:51 pm - To the two dozen kids and their parents at the Hickory Knolls Discovery Center Sunday morning, the arrival of Santa Claus was secondary to his mode of transportation. Most young eyes were on the Siberian Huskies that muscled Santa’s sled to...

Thousands celebrate Merry Cary with parade, Santa’s arrival

Dec 07 2014 | 4:44 pm - A festive crowd of thousands lined Main Street in downtown Cary Sunday afternoon for the annual Merry Cary Holiday Parade and Festival. It was part of a day’s worth of activities that included pony rides, a petting zoo and the tree-lighting...

Pasquale’s officially open in E. Dundee

Dec 01 2014 | 8:47 pm - Members of the Northern Kane County Chamber of Commerce donned gloves in the cold blue air as Pasquale’s restaurant celebrated its grand opening Monday in downtown East Dundee. Robert “Buzz” Doyle and Patrick Maggi also opened...

Santa joins mayor in lighting Batavia Christmas tree

Nov 30 2014 | 7:35 pm - When Santa Claus finally strode along the Riverwalk and up to the Peg Bond stage in Batavia Sunday night, master of ceremonies Craig Foltos asked him if he got detoured by a double cheeseburger along the way. Santa laughed. With that, Mayor Jeff...

Streamwood students celebrate Thanksgiving their way

Nov 25 2014 | 7:50 pm - A Thanksgiving meal of turkey sandwiches, pudding and Kool-Aid was the highlight and reward Tuesday for special needs students at Ridge Circle Elementary School in Streamwood The first, second and third graders planned the Thanksgiving event and...

Vote for your favorite decorated tree at Gail Borden

Nov 12 2014 | 11:04 am - Almost 50 elaborately decorated holiday trees are brightening the Gail Borden Library rotunda in Elgin until Friday. Each tree in The 14th Annual Festival of Trees is sponsored by a local business. The public can vote, by ballot, in the library, for...

Pet show gives abandoned animals a second chance

Nov 09 2014 | 5:41 pm - Abandoned and unwanted pets from the common (dogs) to exotic (Patagonian Cavy) had a second chance to find a home this weekend during the Chicago Pet Show at the Kane County Fairgrounds.

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