Petrak: Plymouth Place resident moderates Skype Q&A with photographer grandson

Chicago Tribune 1 month ago

Grandparents tend to be a proud lot. That’s their thing.

And while it’s not new for grandparents to admire their grandchildren’s artworks, Dick Best has taken that to a whole new level, well beyond crayon figures or cellphone photos tacked onto bulletin boards.

Best, a resident of Plymouth Place in La Grange Park, recently led a Skype Q&A with his grandson, Gordon Best, as Gordon’s professional photos went on display at a lower level art gallery inside the senior living facility. A row of Plymouth Place residents listened intently on chairs lining the hallway as Gordon Best shared some of the stories behind the photos. His grandfather moderated the discussion and asked some questions of his own.

That photo of a cute monkey eating a mango, titled “The Thief” was taken in Cambodia, near a temple. The photo of buffalo standing in a wide-open landscape is pure America, a shot made in Yellowstone.

Asking Dick Best about his favorite photo made by Gordon is kind of like, well, asking which kid or grandkid is your favorite: he loves them all. But is pretty fond of a photo titled “Ultralight Beams,” which captures a girl in a cave, standing in beams of light.

If it sounds like Gordon Best has traveled the world to take photos of animals and landscapes as well as cities and people, it’s because he has. During his video chat presentation, the 27-year-old photographer recounted some of his travel stories, including his current longer-term stint in Australia. His gallery Q&A was in the early evening because it was the next morning Down Under.

In addition to roaming that country to create memorable images, Gordon Best, who grew up in New Jersey but travels this way to visit his extended family, is also teaching photography to tourists on vacation tours.

Gordon Best’s photos will be on display for a month in the lower-level gallery inside Plymouth Place, which is open to the public, like many programs and displays at the facility.

“I had asked Gordon to send me some of his photos," Dick Best recalls. “When I looked at them and thought ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could share them here?'”

Best said Gordon’s work has also been displayed at the Manhattan Design Center in New York and the Albert Joseph Gallery in New Jersey.

The arts seem to be a thing in this bloodline. Dick Best, who had a successful career in advertising after graduating from Northwestern University, performs often with the Plymouth Place theatre troupe, frequently plays the piano at the facility and has taken part in senior talent shows.

“He’s quite artistic,” says Marsha Hankermeyer, life enhancement manager at Plymouth Place.

The photo artworks showcased at the gallery in La Grange Park are available for purchase. To see more works from Gordon Best, go to To learn about other happenings at Plymouth Place, including performances and lectures, go to

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