Metropolitan Correction Center Blues

a Harry Weese joint, 1975

View On Black

such a strange building, really. According to Chicago’s Famous Buildings 5th edition, “The splayed windows (five inches wide at their narrowest) are the maximum that federal standards will permit without bars.” There is apparently a rooftop exercise yard, though it isn’t visible from the street.

Faux Black and White in Chicago

I’m having fun emulating the use of film1 and converting photos to black and white. A few recent snapshots – weren’t strong enough on their own, and still aren’t “print” worthy, but at least they are good practice fodder. For larger versions, click image, natch.

Inescapable Rhythms
Inescapable Rhythms
The color version for reference – actually used the Kodak 25 slide film emulation, which added contrast and richer colors to the image. View On Black

Inescapable Rhythms -TRI-X 400
Inescapable Rhythms -TRI-X 400
black and white version, TRI-X 400, a film I used to use quite extensively in my Nikon N8008 35mm camera. View Large On Black

Conceptual Silence
Conceptual Silence
Blue Line platform. Kodak T-Max p3200 speed film, another I used fairly freqently. I never owned a flash for my 35mm camera, plus was more frequently in nightclubs and bars in the 90s, situations that high-speed film was useful.View On Black

Intelligentsia Barista
Intelligentsia Barista…. More high-speed film – adds grain, and masks blurriness. Still a lame photo, actually, but not quite as bad.

Modes of Transportation Number 6832 –
Modes of Transportation Number 6832 -
T-Max P3200 added grain. I always use Alien Skin Exposure 2 in its own layer, and sometimes change the opacity to allow a little bit of color to shine through. View On Black

The Chicago Gallery 1973 – TRI-X 400
The Chicago Gallery 1973 - TRI-X 400
Union Pacific is slowly (and I mean slowly!) rebuilding this over-pass.View On Black

State of Mind – TRI-X 400
State of Mind - TRI-X 400
underneath the Loop train track (at Quincy, or nearby)View Large On Black

James H Sammons M.D Way – Agfa APX 100
James H Sammons M.D Way - Agfa APX 100
random street scene. Who the hell is James H Sammons, M.D., and why is the street named after him?

Don’t recall ever using Agfa APX 100 film before, seems very fine grained. Again, let a small percentage of the underlying color to bleed through. Subtle effect though.

CLTV Truck
CLTV Truck
May Day, 2007

forgot which filter I used, but I’m guessing Ilford Delta 3200, based on the grain.

Unitrin Building – Plus-X 125
Unitrin Building - Plus-X 125
1 East Wacker, Chicago, IL

Plus-X 125 – used lots of rolls of this film.

Public Enemies – TRI-X 400
Public Enemies - TRI-X 400
taxi in front of Chicago Cultural Center

WH Salisburn Since 1855 – Ilford HP5 400
WH Salisburn Since 1855 - Ilford HP5 400

Self Portrait Jan 2006 – toned
Self Portrait Jan 2006 - toned

toned in Alien Skin, sort of emulating the Ilford black and white film that could be color-processed like C-412 and had this brown tonality.

Empty Blue Number 2

Empty Blue Number 2
Fulton Market

More 1049 Nostalgia – TRI-X 400
More 1049 Nostalgia - TRI-X 400
biked by my old apartment: corner of Cortez and Paulina. I rented the bottom floor (unfinished death trap that it was), something like 3500 sq. feet for $780.The neighborhood was slightly different in the mid-90s, but some structures are still there.

a quickr pickr post

  1. using the Alien Skin plugin, Exposure 2 []
  2. and thus could be taken to any photo developing lab. Think it was called XP2 Super []

Henri Cartier-Bresson

“Henri Cartier-Bresson (Aperture Masters of Photography)” (Aperture)

Was lucky enough to sneak over to the Art Institute of Chicago this week, and explore the Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibit. Wow. My art-speak muscles have atrophied from inactivity1, so I’m not going to bore you with faux critical analysis, suffice it to say, I was blown away, and want to explore the exhibit again before it leaves, January 4th, 2009. I was not familiar with his work, besides perhaps one image that became famous recently2 when uploaded to Flickr. Amazing will suffice as an adjective for Mr. Cartier-Bresson.

The exhibit also mixes in drawings3 from contemporaries, sometimes uncannily similar, sometimes related in other fashion – such as a photo of Henri Matisse in his studio alongside a Matisse sketch.

From the AIC:

To celebrate the centenary of the birth of Henri Cartier-Bresson, the Art Institute will present, for the first time, a comparison of Cartier-Bresson’s photographs to the modern drawings, etchings, and paintings of his contemporaries—works that would otherwise be in storage in preparation for their installation in the Modern Wing.

Henri Cartier-Bresson, the legendary photojournalist whose work was characterized by the term “the decisive moment,” began his career as a painter influenced by the Surrealist poets who were a mainstay of Parisian café culture in the 1920s. Although his subsequent work in photography was concerned primarily with time and timing, it also reveals an appreciation for the irrational and subconscious gleaned from the work of writers and poets of this time.

Pulling from the Art Institute’s Julian Levy Collection—the legendary gallery director who assembled the first exhibition of Cartier-Bresson’s photographs in the United States—this exhibition provides a rare glimpse into the early stages of Cartier-Bresson’s career. Work by his painting instructor André Lhote parallels Cartier-Bresson’s early photographs, as does that of Salvador Dalí. Also included will be work by Giorgio de Chirico, Henri Matisse, Piet Mondrian, and Pablo Picasso that relates to photographs by Brassaï, André Kertész, and other photographers active in Paris between the World Wars.

When I got home, I ordered this book from Amazon

Henri Cartier-Bresson reveals–as only a few great artists have done consistently–the richness, the sensibilities, and the varieties of the human experience in the twentieth century. This volume of Aperture’s Masters of Photography series confirms the genius of the photographer whose pictures with the new, smaller hand-held cameras and faster films defined the idea of “the decisive moment” in photography.

Cartier-Bresson’s imagery is intimate, but it is also utterly respectful of his subjects. In his wide travels throughout the world, he has captured universal meanings through the glimpses into the lives of individuals in scores of countries. Each photograph is in itself a masterpiece of dramatic form; taken together, Cartier-Bresson’s works constitute a personal history of epic scope.

Henri Cartier-Bresson presents forty-two of the artist’s photographs, each recognized a a masterpiece of the medium. In addition, Cartier-Bresson offers a brief statement of his own artistic ethos, his striving for the spontaneity through intuition that imbues his work.

Forty-two 5″X7″ quality reproductions, well worth the $10 price tag. If you have the slightest interest in photography or art history, you should swing by the Art Institute, or at least pick up a copy of this book.

  1. University of Texas was a long, long time ago []
  2. A wiseacre uploaded this photo to a Flickr group called “deleteMe”, a group that invites photography critique. Some of the more dismissive comments seem to have been deleted, but plenty still remain, criticizing his lack of focus, weird depth of field, should have been in stronger focus, and so on. Flickr is a great site, but rewards a certain type of photo over all others. Color photos of beaches are fine, but are they really art? Over-saturated postcard style images usually get viewed much, much more than photos containing less technical polish. []
  3. and paintings? The trouble with spending a couple hours browsing the Art Institute is that there is a certain amount of blur []

Chicago’s Oldest Italian Restaurant


[to best see the lovely ‘grain’, view large or click here ]

Personally, I think Spiaggia is much better, and apparently President-elect Obama agrees with me.