Jeff Marini started as a portrait photographer, and he’s taken a couple of my favorite recent portraits—this one, of Field Museum Chief Curiosity Correspondent Emily Graslie, that captures her curiosity and wit; and this one, of the gifted young chef Iliana Regan, which underscores her immense ambition and independence. They’re both perfect compliments to the accompanying profiles, suggesting that Marini got something true about his subjects through his lens.

After portrait photography, Marini became interested in food photography. It was, he told me, an obvious transition. “More than any other inanimate object, it spoke to me,” Marini says. “Food has a sense of soul and spirit. It was the logical next step.”

For this month’s Big Picture feature, he took on one of the most simple and sweet of foodstuffs: ice pops, just as Chicago finally, finally turns the corner on summer. And the Bomb Pop was an obvious choice to lead with. “The Bomb Pop is an icon of America in the summer,” Marini says. “I can’t disassociate it with summer vacation—time seems to pass more slowly, the days are long and hot, everyone has time. That image illustrates that idea of time passing very nicely.”

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