Photographing buildings during a mild snowstorm presents some obvious challenges. Figuring out proper exposure can be tricky, and lugging camera equipment through 12-16 inches of snow on the ground (with more falling from the sky) can be exhausting. Also: the wet, the cold, etc. But when the resulting images work, it’s like the snow erases all the superfluous detail, leaving just the subject floating on a field of white.
Madison/Pulaski, April 1951 (source: Sun Times/AP, maybe?) and 2012 (source: me)
I always wondered what that thing was.
I shot a few photos while wandering around my neighborhood during the first early morning hours of 2014.
As far as I am concerned January 1st is just another day on the calender and New Year Resolutions are bullshit, but one thing I hope to do in 2014 is update this blog thing more than once a month. It might happen.
The day I finally went inside the long-vacant Lawndale Theater, one of the padlocked doors leading inside building was ripped off its hinges. Photos of the interior from a just few years ago (do a Google image search if you’re curious) show spaces ruined beyond repair, but what I saw looked even worse. Floors and ceilings had collapsed, and everything inside (decorative plasterwork, wood, carpet, furniture) was waterlogged and rotten. Poking around a moldy abandonment doesn’t appeal to me as much as it once did, and after getting a handful of shots I was happy to leave. It’s remarkable that the building has avoided demolition or arson for so long, though I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before one of the two, or both, happens.
Last month I moved out of the first and only “real” studio space I’ve ever had, a dark and grimy (but large and very cheap) workspace shared with several other artists in a nondescript building next to the Dan Ryan Expressway. It was a great art-making environment and I stayed for almost 15 years, but eventually changes (building management, my shifting from painting to photography) and conflicts with a revolving cast of studio-mates got to be too much, and moving out seemed like the least worst option. Before loading up the rental van, I went to the roof to photograph the view overlooking an area a friend described as “what will be left after the apocalypse.” Now much of my studio gear is packed into a 5′ x’ 5′ storage unit, and a too-small spare bedroom in my apartment has been cleared out for future mess-making projects.
Speaking of starting over: this (what you are reading) is my new place for posting updates, new work, old work, rough drafts, whatever. I’ve started and abandoned several blogs before this one, so no guarantees. Follow along via the rss feed, or twitter if you’re into that sort of thing. And if you know of any reasonably-priced studio spaces in Chicago, preferably in (or within cycling distance of) South Lawndale, let me know.