This week’s Variations on a Theme celebrates local artists, in conjunction with Chicago Artists Month. All week long, check back here to read Reader writers on Chicagoans who are making (or made) art that you should be checking out (and if you missed Ideas Week, last week’s Variations on a Theme, you can read it here).

For my introduction, I’d like to throw a little shine on a Reader contributor. Todd Diederich has shot photographs for a few big features, including Mick Dumke‘s “Besieged” and Elly Fishman’s “Pariahs Amid the Rainbow” and “Grit & Glitter”; in the lattermost story, Todd contributed a particularly spectacular slideshow.

I’ve known Todd for around two years, and ever since a friend of ours showed me his Tumblr, I’ve been following his work closely. I find him to be particularly skilled at spotting unusual-looking situations or people and framing them in stark, lovely compositions. This portrait of a nude walking through a marsh reminds me of Titian or Monet more than it does any photograph I’ve ever seen. And a recent photograph of a man in a jet pack propelling out of the water is equal parts hilarious, odd, and graceful, the kind of randomness that Todd is able to transform into something simple and moving.