Wilmette-native Maria Ponce Berre has traveled the world—taking gorgeous photos along the way—but it’s Chicago that she still calls home. From a studio in Ravenswood, she runs two businesses: the eponymous Maria Ponce Photography, and her more recent venture Born and Raised Photography. The latter specializes in super-cool children’s portraiture and was undoubtedly inspired by Ponces’ own pregnancy (she’s due Christmas Day).
What do you love most about Ravenswood?
MARIA PONCE BERRE: I love the aesthetic of the area and the great art community that surrounds me. The Ravenswood Art Walk is one of the highlights of the year.
You have an amazing studio, but where else in the neighborhood do you like taking subjects to photograph them?
MPB: I love shooting underneath the el tracks behind my [studio]. There are also some very cool industrial buildings made of brick that have lots of character and cool loading docks.
What are a few of your favorite places to grab a bite to eat, and what do you order?
MPB: I love City Provisions (1818 W. Wilson Ave., 773-293-2489), which is right next door to my studio. It’s a bakery and sandwich shop that sells organic and locally grown goods. My favorite is the chicken salad wrap with homemade pickles. I am also a huge fan of Los Nopales (4544 N. Western Ave., 773-334-3149)—best Mexican food in the city. I get the fish tacos. Lastly, Spacca Napoli (1769 W. Sunnyside Ave., 773-878-2420) has unreal wood-fired pizza.
Where do you like to shop in your neighborhood?
MPB: Merz Apothecary (4716 N. Lincoln Ave., 773-989-0900) in [nearby] Lincoln Square, and the Ravenswood Antique Mart (4727 N. Damen Ave., 773-271-3700). [They have an] unreal vintage jewelry collection there.
Are there any restaurants or stores you’ll always venture out of Ravenswood for?
MPB: I love making a special occasion out of going to NoMI (800 N. Michigan Ave., 312-239-4030) for cocktails and a quick bite, especially in the summer when the roof deck is open.