Stateline Strong: Photographer Pushes Forward After Fire Destroys Her Business


A Rockford photographer tries to return to normalcy after her up-and-coming business went up in flames, destroyed in the fire that consumed the Hanley building in downtown Rockford.

“It’s nice to be back to work,” said Elizabeth Lichty, owner of EllAdele Photography. “I’ve been needing this. It’s kind of therapy, so to be back doing what I love, it’s wonderful.”

Lichty is in her third season of shooting weddings for her business, EllAdele photography. 

“We had 2 minutes to grab whatever we could,” said Lichty.

The two businesses shared a wall. Now, there’s water bubbled behind the plaster, transforming a once vintage and posh place, into charred remains with water-logged walls and puddles.

“It’s hard to watch a building next door completely go into flames,” said Lichty, behind tears. “And then, (to) not know what’s going to happen, like this is my life.”

Chunks of the Hanley building fell to the ground as crews worked to tear down what was left of the eyesore. Lichty says it’s her clients and her faith building her back up for a future, in the very place she called home for only eight months before the fire.

“Even though it’s going to take months and months and I’m going to get all new floors and I don’t know what’s happening to my walls and I don’t know what’s gonna happen to my ceiling, don’t really care, to this point, because I love this space so much,” said Lichty.

Brides always want perfection on their big day, and that’s what Lichty tries to capture through a camera lens.

“We are photographing Dustina and Zach’s wedding,” explained Lichty.

From make-up delicately painted on, to the final fluff of the wedding gown before it’s taken off the hanger, Lichty zooms in on the little things that add to the big day.

“I think detail shots are a lot of fun to create, the different set ups with the shoes and the flowers and the dress,” explains Lichty.

But what means the most to her isn’t what’s in front of her camera, because the sound of passion can’t be captured with a click of a Cannon.

“It’s not being behind the camera. It’s the people that I meet and that I actually become friends with, and that I get to be a part of their day and that’s the best part,” Lichty said.

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