Posts tagged ‘Daley Plaza’

May 8, 2014

Ones or zeroes

I found him laying on a concrete slab in a plaza I often walk; half asleep, it appeared. You could probably get away with taking more than his photograph if you had the desire. Made you wonder if he was overworked and sleeping the lunch hour away, or if he was exactly the opposite, doing the same.
Ones or zeroes
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June 18, 2013

Chillaxin’ in the plaza

One of the best things about the open space at Daley Plaza is the availability of loose chairs on the good-weather days. People can grab them and do whatever they feel like. Some drag them over to the fountain, others cluster in groups to chat. My favorites, however, are the strays. These are people who pick any random area and just drop their chair right there. There’s this chaos to the whole thing. Unfortunately, on this day, no great patters emerged between the individuals to make a multi-person photo, but this man stood out to me. He was probably in his fifties, but he was equally attached to his massive white headphones and little iPod as any teenager strolling about. Making even more interest was the mess of chairs forming a nice line off of his position. I assumed he was a traveler with nothing to do, nowhere to go. This was reinforced by his positioning – faced directly into the sun like a bather on the beach.
Chillaxin' in the plaza
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March 29, 2013

P-I-C-A-S-S-O

When I saw this in Daley Plaza, my heart sank. It had nothing to do with Picasso. It was that I shoot Daley Plaza quite a bit, maybe too much, and here was something (the letters are temporary) else to shoot exactly there, and that was disappointing. I think I stood there for a few minutes wondering if I should even do it. I did. I guess you already knew that.

I understand it’s been 30 years since the Art Institute put on a Picasso exhibit. They were first to bring his art to the USA 100 years ago, which is kind of cool to know. I’ve always been a fan. When I was little Picasso’s crude paintings were all over the pediatrician’s office I visited in the form of wallpaper. My parents had a book of his art in their home along with a bunch of other painters. I walk past this sculpture of his quite frequently. I guess I feel like he’s been following me around for quite some time now.
P-I-C-A-S-S-O
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March 10, 2013

Styles crashing together

I always assumed Mies van der Rohe had built the Richard J. Daley Center until I looked it up recently. Not so. I should have known better. It’s not black, first of all. The steel its made of is supposed to weather, and it has, to this reddish shade of brown. Despite this being a night photo you can see it in the lighter parts of the building. City Hall kind of crashes against it (but doesn’t clash) with its columns and stone. I like how the buildings meet in a very dissonant way, and it works thanks to Daley Center’s clean lines. Don’t ever try to go into the Daley Center with camera equipment. It doesn’t go over very well at the metal detectors.
Styles crashing together
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March 7, 2013

Looking away from the crowd

Ever since I entered photo contests more recently I’ve become aware of my approach changing. For the time being it’s a good thing, but I hope it doesn’t last that long. I think I’ve played it more safe due to thinking about how people will receive my photos. Previously I just wanted to make things I thought were cool or interesting. Lately it’s become more of what appeals to an audience. I think that’s left me toning down images and color and focusing more on form and composition. I know I’m an off-beat photographer when it comes to capturing a scene, and there’s good reason for that. As a TV photographer I always wanted to capture an event differently from my opponents. I watched how they worked and attempted to squeeze into places they hadn’t considered. It became a formula, really. I got things they never considered.

With photography in general, however, I don’t want to be systematic or formulaic with approach. I try to vary what I do and never repeat photos from the same place in back-to-back succession. I have no problem reproducing a scene twice or a few times after my original post from whatever particular setting – but that’s not what I mean by becoming repetitious in execution. My concern is to not yield to expectations. I would rather stand out than stand together in a crowd. I’d rather not do what wins contests and still win them anyway. That leads us to today’s image…

I’ve shot the Picasso a bunch of times. It’s always over my shoulder every day I’m in the city. The challenge is to capture it when it is surrounded by a different atmosphere on a given day, or when it appears to be lit in a way that is superior or extraordinary to the average passing. This particular image I saved three different ways before choosing one for the blog. The other two were too dark or lacked color. For this one I accentuated the misty rain with a paintbrush affect and stripped out the contrast. I wanted it to be cold and away, turning it’s shoulder from usual.
Looking away from the crowd
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November 22, 2012

The tree from a distance

I missed the Chicago Christmas tree lighting ceremony the other night. These sorts of things tend to happen to me. Schedules. Life. Feigned interest. After the crowds had dispersed I found myself in awe of the tree and wishing I had been there with the throng, even though I didn’t really want to be with them. I’m not sure that makes sense.

Cops and tourists were all over the area, but nobody was asked to leave despite it being late. I went up underneath, but it didn’t make for a great photo. The tree is actually an obelisk-like shape, so you have to get some distance to properly see the star.
The tree from a distance
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November 10, 2012

Sneak peek at the Chicago Christmas tree

I was surprised to see the Chicago tree up on Monday, November 5th! Just a few days earlier Daley Plaza was awash in orange light for Halloween, but it’s a quick turnaround this year. With November 1st falling on a Thursday it’s four short weeks to get the Christmas season in full swing for Thanksgiving on the 22nd. Kind of funny how we plan our preparedness for one holiday around another. November 22 is the earliest Thanksgiving can fall, so you get an extra week of Christmas shopping this year. Congrats. Walmart is really jacked up about it with the start of their Black Friday actually coming on Thursday. That seems… excessive.

One block from the tree Macy’s insanely massive trumpets already dwarf your walk over on the east side of State Street, and their Christmas windows are not only revealed, they’re operational. I can’t remember if I heard Christmas music over there or not the other night. If the windows are up, I’m sure the music is going, too.

Christmas apparently is now a two-month-long event. I can’t get into the swing just yet, but I wanted to share a taste of what the tree will be looking like. Five workers raced to get the lights up the other night. There’s a big lighting reveal by the city on the 20th, but the fact that you can already see it lit as it’s set up kind of defeats the purpose for those working and living in the area. It does look way better than last year’s scraggly mess.
Sneak pee at the Chicago Christmas tree
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November 1, 2012

Moments before Halloween

I mentioned I couldn’t find something that was both inspiring and the embodiment of Halloween yesterday, but I did have a strange occurrence shortly before midnight on the 30th. A man lay on the sidewalk underneath some of the tallest skyscrapers in Chicago, a woolen cap pulled over his eyes, just minutes before the clocked ticked over to the 31st. He was barely moving save for his breath, but he was at least breathing.

I cautiously walked over to check on him, because you never know what’s up in the city, and through his thick blonde beard he shot back a “yeah” every time I asked if things were OK. But before responding on the third “you sure?” he sat up and removed his shoes, kicked one of them away, and laid back down. “Yeah,” he repeated, he was fine if not altogether there. So, I wandered into Daley Plaza and shot this moody view as the night deepened and everyone disappeared, including the man laying on the sidewalk.
Moments before Halloween
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August 31, 2012

Late lights

Someone asked me once if this was the sun. No. I guess because the lights are halfway up the building it doesn’t make sense to some. This is the cleaning hour at Daley Plaza, when they wash EVERYTHING, even the stuff that isn’t dirty. Chicago must spend a fortune on projects that don’t deserve once-a-day status. Half a dozen men go crazy with power washers here all the time. Why?
Late lights
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