CNN Photos

On a warmer-than-normal May morning, a group of men and women apprehensively gathered in a room at the Holiday Inn in Chicago. They looked like regular folks assembled together, perhaps for a trade conference.

There were, however, signals that made clear that this gathering of Chicagoans weren’t teachers or shopkeepers or plumbers – they were carrying the tools of their trade: cameras.

The evening before, an ominous e-mail directed the entire Sun-Times Media Group photography department to a meeting that morning. Previous staff meetings were always held in the photo studio, but this one was on the 14th floor of the tower, not on Sun-Times property.

Some photographers had already been assigned shoots for that Thursday, but it was clear from the e-mail that this meeting was mandatory.

“We got the note, and immediately began sending speculative texts and e-mails to each other. We joked that they were either buying us…

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