When people ask you where you got your artwork, be sure to tell them you got it on the Blkmarket
Blunderbuss XXV "Heart Line" (from the Concrete Canvas series)
The Concrete Canvas series was the solution to my problem of running out of canvases. I'll just cut through the b.s. and say that, because I've been doing this for little over a year, I'm not sure when I'm going to sell my paintings and large canvases can get expensive. Also, selling actual paintings on this site would probably confuse people, so I decided to resolve all these problems by painting on concrete and photographing the results.
There aren't many local places to practice your street art (i.e. graffiti) without getting arrested. Luckily, there is one local park that allows people to tag/paint whatever they want on the dam.
First unwritten rule of tagging is you don't paint over someone else's work. Much to my annoyance, there was a lot of great artwork on the dam walls and I didn't want to ruin it. This lead me to start painting on the ground.
I decided to use "Blunderbuss" for the titles because the paint looks as if it was shot out of a blunderbuss. Because I had a tough time remembering the numbers for each particular Blunderbuss image, I decided to give them alternate titles. The alternate title for this particular one is "Heart Line" due to the fact there's a heart on the left-hand side and the line leading away from it runs through the middle of everything.
Blunderbuss XXIV "Crescendo" (from the Concrete Canvas series)
I know what people are thinking, but this has absolutely zero connection to Jackson Pollock or his drip paintings. I appreciate his contributions to art and Abstract Expressionism, but I'm not trying to reinvent his wheel, I'm trying to make my own. (If you find this painting on concrete to be derivative, give me a chance to privately explain why it's not.)
The best way to explain this is, I had a rough of idea of what I wanted to do, but once I realized I was running out of concrete, I called an audible and started mushing things into the ground with a sponge.
It's hard to talk about this image in the way gallery patrons want, but the alternate title, "Crescendo," came about after I stepped back, looked at all of this and felt as though a conductor had dipped his baton in paint and conducted a symphony - a visual symphony, if you will.
A quick aside: shortly after this was finished, clouds rolled over the park. If the sun isn't shining directly overhead, you can't properly photograph the concrete, so I had to wait a few days. When I came back, the paint was still kinda wet and I accidentally stepped in this one, as well as some of the other blunderbuss works, with my Nike Air basketball shoes. (If you see footprints in any of the BLunderbuss works, know that they're probably mine).
Blunderbuss XVIII "Gold Cobra" (from the Concrete Canvas series)
This particular BLunderbuss work was photographed on the same day as "Crescendo." While photographing my work, a middle-aged guy with a tattoo of a hornet on his neck walked over to me and introduced himself. He was A little rough around the edges, a little strange, and was as honest as anyone with Asperger's. Maybe that's why I liked him. Either way, he was extremely interested in the paintings.
Not knowing I was responsible for the art he was looking at, the guy began to tell me how horrible it was. He even went so far as to give me an impromptu art history lesson (that was riddled with inaccuracies). Had he known he was standing next to the person responsible for the work he was trashing, I'm sure he wouldn't have been quite as harsh. I think.
The name of this particular work should be self-explanatory, but in case it's not: the gold swirl on the right-hand side of the frame looks like a gold cobra.
As for the my encounter with the man, it ended just as quickly as it began.
he finally got around to asking me my name and what line of work I was in. I told him I was a photographer and artist. His eyes lit up and he began to tell me about how his granddaughter was a photographer. It was a strange, one-sided conversation, but I appreciated his enthusiasm.
Blunderbuss XXI "Turnbull" (from the Concrete Canvas series)
Because I dropped black paint on a good portion of the original work, I had to photograph a small section as opposed to the whole thing. Seeing as how is all about failure, I wasn't too upset.
The name Turnbull is based off the Turnbull ACs in the 1979 movie The Warriors.
Blunderbuss XIX "Depth Charge" (from the Concrete Canvas series)
The first thing that stands out about this painting on concrete is the muddy colors. I tried fixing them, but didn't really know how, so I left them.
As for the pebbles in the middle, they reminded of a depth charge in descent. Combined with the furious painting movements and footprints, it makes for a rather unique, if frenetic, work of art.
Blunderbuss XXX "Denouement" (from the Concrete Canvas series)
Though I was upset and embarrassed about having to paint on the ground, the Concrete Canvas series ended up being extremely cathartic for me. Problem was, I needed a bold and matter-of-fact painting to end the series with, but I couldn't think of anything..... until I saw an old Paint roller lying in the dried up weeds.
Unfortunately, I can't take credit for the blue paint, white paint, or the light orange, but the Bright yellow? All mine. All I wanted to do was write the word "Fin' as my way of ending the series (in an old-fashioned, cinematic way), but the roller was attached to a rusted pole that broke when I tried to reach an extremely high section of the wall. The bright yellow splatter was a screw up so I said, "Forget it," and left for the day.
When I came back to the wall a few days later I noticed the yellow streak looked a little like someone had hurled paint at the wall. And, it kind of looked like a period. Well, how do you end a sentence? With a period. So, I photographed this small section of the wall and decided it was the perfect way to end my first series of paintings.
Adagio for Cents and Sensibilities
Double exposure of a mannequin (in an expensive dress) on Michigan Avenue juxtaposed with anti-materialistic street art from Penny Pinch, a well-known street artist.
Steel wool photography consists of stuffing steel wool into a whisk, igniting the steel wool with a 9v battery and swinging the whisk until all the sparks are gone. It's a tad bit dangerous, but I decided to take it up a notch, bien sur.
Though it was -5 outside, I was tired of being indoors and decided to make a steel wool photograph. So, I stuffed a whisk with two balls of steel wool, ignited them, then walked out onto the Rock River and started swinging the whisk as violently as possible.
Not sure what to say about this except that winter nights in the Midwest are pretty boring. Seeing as how creativity helps me fight through the monotony of day-to-day life, I decided to try my hand at steel wool photography using a 35mm camera.
Anyone can attach steel wool to a whisk and swing it around to produce sparks, but what I wanted to do was create an interesting image. I found this gated section of a local shopping center and decided to use it as backdrop or, a portal.
Unfortunately, I only had 800 speed film on my person, so I knew this long exposure couldn't go any longer than 10 or 15 seconds. The first time I triggered the timer on my 35mm camera, I slipped and fell while running into position. The second time, however, I was able to get into position and start swinging the whisk around in circles. Sparks went flying everywhere, but mostly on myself. After developing the film and seeing the final result, I didn't mind too much.
[Fuji Superia 800 Color Negative Film]
Candles & Mirrors
This street photograph features sentient statues at sunrise in Chicago's Millennium Park. More than anything, this photograph speaks to the human condition. I know this because I see myself in every single one of these statues... and maybe you do as well.
I remember this photograph very, very well because it was made on an extremely warm afternoon in early September. I was walking near Madison and Wells when I noticed this woman who looked awfully beautiful, and awfully tired. Always worried women are going to yell at me on the streets of Chicago, I had second thoughts about attempting to photograph her. Obviously, I decided to just go for it.
I tried to be stealthy, but she caught me dead to rights. Oddly enough, she didn't seem to mind. I ended up getting her contact information and sending a copy of this photograph because I felt it was one the strongest photographs I'd made (at that time).
You're probably going to want to mentally dog-ear this photograph because it's the first and last time I used a telephoto lens for this kind of candid photography.
I'd just bought my first telephoto lens and decided to take it for a spin in downtown Rockford. Unfortunately, my photographs of street scenes looked horrible with a telephoto lens because everything seemed so voyeuristic. Telephoto lenses allow you to view the action from afar, which is, in my opinion, a cowardly act. Once I realized how much I disliked my telephoto lens, I decided to head back to my car.
As luck would have it, this young couple was quickly approaching me and I had a feeling they'd make for a great shot. As they walked past me I could hear them playfully fighting with each other. I tried to photograph them, but my telephoto lens prevented me from getting a closeup so, I waited for them to get a little ways past me. As soon as they were a good twenty yards away, I fired a few shots, with this one being the most extraordinary.
As for the image itself, the title does a wonderful job of explaining everything. I'll let your imagination and interpretive abilities do the rest.
I stumbled across this woman while walking in downtown Rockford on an extremely cold day in late November. She was approaching me from an angle when I noticed she had a very tough, gritty vibe about her. Not being one to shy away from strangers, I made my way toward her with my camera set to fire.
As soon as I got within ten feet of the woman she noticed me. Seeing as how it's easier to explain myself after the photo is made, I snapped this picture while she was removing her sunglasses to see what I was doing.
As it turns out, this woman from South Boston, who was extremely friendly, had recently been the victim of a hit and run. The bruise above her left, and the fact that she was in a wheelchair, were all the proof I needed that this woman was one tough cookie.
This candid street photograph features a young man appearing to fill a suit that sat in a window on Michigan Avenue.
The idea and execution of the photograph happened simultaneously. Though a 50mm lens is my favorite, I happened to have a 24-70mm lens attached to my camera on this particular day. Had I been using my normal 50mm lens, I wouldn't have been able to zoom in as close as I needed to frame the scene properly.
As for the title of the photograph, it's pulled directly from the 2003 spy thriller film of the same name. You could conjure up a lot stories about this photograph (which I encourage), but my intention was simply to add a little bit of theatricality into the mix.
Tired of sitting indoors, I decided to go for a walk near the Rock River around 8:00 P.M. on a chilly evening in early November. Because I didn't have my tripod with me, my expectations of capturing anything significant were pretty low. AS it turned out, I was right, or so I thought.
As I was heading back to my car, it started to drizzle. While trying to shield my camera from the rain, I noticed leaves falling from the trees. Though it was extremely dark, the light from the Rockford Public Library (which was directly behind me) helped illuminated the leaves just enough to catch a glimpse of them before they hit the ground. Knowing how flash photography freezes objects in motion, I opened up the pop-up flash on my camera and waited for another leaf to fall.
As luck would have it, I was able to capture a leaf in mid-flight, as well as scare these two women who were having a cigarette. Combine flash photography at night with the fact there's a 6'6 guy staring at you in the rain and you can understand why these women weren't thrilled with me. However, I wasn't prepared for what happened next.
As soon as my flash popped, the woman on the right, in the glasses, started yelling. "Fooking hell, he took our picture!" Turns out, the woman was from across the pond. "You better delete that fooking picture" she shouted. I told her I was photographing the leaf, not her, but she kept yelling. The more I tried to explain myself, the more she kept screaming at me until I finally decided to walk away. That only infuriated her more.
As I'm walking back to my car, the woman and her friend started following me. Two more women started walking with them, taking pictures of me and yelling nasty stuff. I'm about 50-60 yards from my car when a guy in a hooded sweatshirt approaches me. He was white, mid-twenties, unshaven, had an eyebrow ring, and reeked of cigarette smoke. All he said was, "You bothering those women?" as he started reaching for my camera. I got in my car and tried to close the door but he prevented me from doing so. Things quickly escalated to him knocking off my hat and me saying, "Chill out, you don't want to do this." This guy wanted to fight, but I didn't.
Luckily, I had a broken memory card taped to the bottom of my camera and decided to give it to him to avoid having to do something we would both regret. "Here, take the damn memory card, I don't care," I said in a feigned, frustrated voice. It wasn't an Academy Award-worthy performance, but it was enough to convince the guy to leave me alone.
As for the picture itself, I cropped off a little bit on the left-hand side to even everything out. The title is based on the fact that the leaf appears to be falling slowly to the ground with the street lamps in the background providing beautiful streaks of light. From an interpretive point of view, there's a lot more to this photograph, but I'm going to let you use your imagination and powers of observation to draw your own conclusions.
Brickbats & Fire Escapes
Making 35mm street photographs in Chicago is what I do best. On this particular day, however, I managed to get five exceptional shots on the same roll of Fuji Superia 400 film. This one might have been the most difficult because the scene was almost impossible to meter. Bright sunlight on the far end of the alley and heavy shadows in the front. Luckily, I knew the settings for this kind of shot by heart - f/5.6, 1/60 sec, ISO 400 film pushed to 800.
After dialing in the settings, I waited for the man to walk into the right part of the frame. When he did, I held my hands steady and fired.
[Fuji Superia 400 Color Negative film pushed to 800 and converted to b\w]
Man in Motion
This candid photograph features a man walking across South LaSalle Street on a busy Monday morning in early December.
With the CHicago Board of Trade 200 yards directly behind me, it's safe to say I had to be mindful of traffic while making this photograph. Though the traffic was tough, catching someone walking by at the right time was even more difficult. Luckily, I managed to capture the shot I wanted after about ten minutes of darting out into the cross and resting my camera on the pavement.
This grand cityscape features an L train thundering across the Wells Street Bridge at sunset. No city, save perhaps New York, is as exciting in the summer as Chicago, Illinois. In order to convey the excitement and energy of downtown Chicago, a long exposure technique was needed to blur both the train and the boats on the river. As for available print options, there's only float mounted metal prints because paper doesn't do this photograph justice.
I'm not someone who enjoys looking at their own photographs, but this one? I could stare at it all day. As for the actual making of it, the story isn't very interesting.
I was walking past the Merchandise Mart just after midnight when I noticed a familiar green parking sign. (Funny thing is, all the parking signs look familiar.) To me, parking garage signs in Chicago scream, "There's an awesome view of the city at the top!" But the view from the top of this particular parking garage was truly breathtaking. Obviously, I was beyond excited to photograph the city from this vantage point.
The title of this photograph is based on music playing during the opening credits of 1983's Risky Business. The credit sequence features an establishing shot of an L train slowly moving through the city. It's a hypnotic sequence with gorgeous '80s synth by... you guessed it. Tangerine Dream.
As much as I'd love to tell you I reflected deeply on this photograph before making it, I can't. I simply aimed the camera upward, placed the Sears Tower in the corner of the frame, and fired... out of boredom. It was only when I got home and imported my images for the day into post-production did I realize how exceptional and imposing this view of the Sears Tower turned out to be. And that happens. Sometimes I work really hard to make a beautiful photograph that's ultimately pedestrian. And other times I merely point the camera upward and fire. With photography, a lot of it has to do with luck, and being in the right place at the right time.
This black and white photograph was made late at night on the Jefferson Street Bridge in Rockford, Illinois. As for the story behind it, I could hear someone walking down the bridge, but then they stopped. I couldn't figure out why the footsteps stopped, so I called out, "Hello?!" No answer. Finally, I opened the flash on my camera and fired off a shot. I looked at the LCD screen and noticed a small outline of a person, hence the title, "Scintilla."
King of Level 7
As you can see from the background, this photograph was made at sunrise on a chilly Autumn morning. My intention was to make cityscape shots from the very top of a parking garage, but when I exited the elevator, I was presented with a unique photo opportunity.
When I stepped out of the elevator and onto the 7th level, this man was there smoking a cigarette. Without thinking, I bent down and pretended to tie my shoelace. Because I was using my LCD screen as a viewfinder, I was able to compose the photograph quite well before taking the actual picture. It happened so fast, I'm sure the guy didn't know what to really think.
There's a lot to process in this monochromatic image, but the one thing most people overlook is the spiderwebs on damn near every inch of this hallway. I'm cool with spiders, but spiderwebs? Yuck.
As for the title of the photograph, it's pretty simple: this guy looked like he owned the seventh level of this parking garage. (Also, he bared a striking resemblance to Donald Pleasence.)
Queen of Michigan Avenue
This candid 35mm photograph features a cleaning lady looking staring out of a top floor window inside the Chicago Cultural Center.
The photograph featured directly above this is King of Level 7, and no, it's not a coincidence. Photographing working class people and placing them in positions of power, however fictional, is something that appeals to me.
In regard to the technical aspects of making this photograph, I was using a Nikon FE with a wide-angle lens on this particular day. I needed a break from the cold and decided to head into the Cultural Center to rest and load a new roll of film into the camera. While sitting on the radiator, I noticed this cleaning lady had stopped vacuuming and started staring out the window. She looked very... regal.
[Fuji Superia 400 Color Negative Film]
It was an obscenely cold night in early January when I decided to walk around the loop with my 35mm camera and some rolls of film. Needless to say, there weren't many people out and about at 5 in the morning. However, I did manage to bump into the gentleman featured above. We struck up a conversation in front of Trump Tower about the Bulls, Bears, and Cubs before heading on our separate ways. (Because it was still dark out, I had to use an aperture of f/1.7 and push my film to 800 in order to get the shot.)
[Ilford HP5 Plus 400 Black and White Film]
This photograph was accidental in that my original intention was to capture the old, faded neon signs at sunrise. While composing the scene, I noticed this woman slowly approaching. When she reached the outer edge of the frame, I pressed the shutter release, thinking nothing of it.
As soon as I got home and started editing photos, I immediately singled out this one for its wonderful composition. However, upon closer inspection, I realized the woman wasn't reading any 'ol book, she was reading the Bible.
The title, "Salvation," is derived from the fact that the woman is reading her bible while walking past a strip club, a Car Wash, and a Liquor Mart, as well as some other... uh... interesting businesses. Some people find what they're looking for at the bottom of a bottle, while others find it in the arms of an exotic dancer. Salvation means different things to different people, but in the case of this particular woman, she found hers in the Good Book.
[A more simplistic way to interpret this image would be to say, "This woman relied on religion to avoid temptation." The real meaning of this photograph, however, is completely up to you and your imagination.]
Untitled (South Rockford)
This candid photograph features a liquor store at sunrise in South Rockford, Illinois.
This looks like an unremarkable, crooked photograph, but in reality, the composition is extremely advanced. You've got two men outside a rundown liquor store at sunrise, a bird flying into the upper left-hand portion of the frame, and a bunch of other interesting tidbits that help paint a picture of what life in South Rockford looked like in 2014.
Not knowing much about Polish culture, I decided to head to the Polish Fest at St. Stanislaus in Rockford, Illinois. After I got done at the Polish Fest, I started walking back to my car, which was parked on Buckbee Street. If you're not from Rockford, you're probably wondering, "What the hell is so special about Buckbee Street?" Well, let's find out.
Rockford, Illinois is one of the most dangerous cities in AMerica, and Blackhawk Courts its most dangerous housing project. As you may or may not have guessed by now, Blackhawk Courts is located right off Buckbee Street. For whatever reason, I decided to walk dead smack into the center of Blackhawk Courts instead of getting in my car and heading home after the Polish Fest.
As soon as I stepped foot inside the invisible line that separates Blackhawk Courts from the rest of the world, I was greeted by the slow-moving red coupe featured above. The sunset reflecting off the car's paint job was too beautiful not to photograph. The driver must not have shared my enthusiasm because he started making loops around me, kinda like a lion stalking its prey. It was about this time I started to wonder if flipping pigeons was a real thing.
Right now, I need you to imagine a tall and skinny white guy in a backward Marquette hat walking into a housing project with his camera at his side. The residents of Blackhawk Courts were looking at me like I was nuts. I kept walking past the first set of apartments and into the middle of the projects where there were 10-11 people on a porch. I introduced myself and shook everyone's hand, asking if I could "hang out with them for a little while." I have no idea what these people were thinking, but they actually seemed pretty receptive towards me, so we got to talking.
The residents of Blackhawk Courts, or at least the ones I talked to, were warm, receptive, and obscenely funny. There were some hardcore-looking guys in their late-twenties and early-thirties who kept shouting at the people on the porch, telling them not to talk to me because I was bacon. (I'm not bacon, but I do enjoy a few pieces with breakfast.) Regardless, I was really enjoying my time with my new friends, but then the sun started to go down and I was told, "You don't want to be out here after dark."
Once I got back home and looked at the photographs I made of Blackhawk Courts, my heart began to sink. Had I exploited this tight-knit community for my own amusement/personal gain? It's a sickening question, but one that had to be asked.
Because I felt my photographs of Blackhawk Courts would do more harm than good, I decided to shelve everything, save this one picture. From a purely artistic standpoint, the colors in this image lend themselves well to Metallic photo paper. From an intellectual standpoint, this photograph is not meant to glamorize or stereotype, but rather to illustrate the protective instincts of a tight-knit community.
This candid street photograph of skateboarders crossing Wacker Driver at sunset came about because... well... I was trying not to stare at a woman's legs.
This gorgeous woman in a navy blue skirt (with white polka dots) was walking down Wacker as if she owned the entire street. Seeing as how it's rude to oogle women, I turned my back in order to pretend I didn't notice her.
As soon as I turned, these tattooed skateboarders caught my attention. They were getting ready to cross the street when I snapped this portrait-oriented shot of them.
Barefoot in the Park
This candid photograph features a young couple embracing in Millennium Park's Crown Fountain shortly before sunset.
I honestly don't remember much about this photograph except that I was using a rented 10-20mm lens on that particular day. And I hated it.
As for this photograph, I was cutting through Crown Fountain to get to Adler Planetarium when I saw this young couple staring at each other. I stopped, fired, and kept walking, never giving it a second thought. In my mind, the image was so pedestrian that I didn't realize its potential until ten months after it was made.
The best places for street photography are areas of Chicago with heavy foot traffic. Though known for being a tourist trap, I decided Navy Pier would be my best bet in terms of making a high concentration of images in a small area. My choice would pay off. It was a visual smorgasbord of interesting scenes, however, the image featured above was probably the most memorable. At
At first glance,, these women seemed to be doing nothing out of the ordinary, that is, until I noticed one of them was barefoot, I knew I had to circle back around to get a shot. The afternoon sun was incredibly bright, which meant they had no way of noticing me as I got down on one knee to make this intimate photograph. Upon seeing the negative a few days later, I knew I'd captured a wonderfully authentic moment.
[Fuji Superia 400 Color Negative Film]
This candid photograph was the result of me having to find someplace to warm up while walking around the city on a blisteringly cold but sunny afternoon.
Someone had given me their Canon EOS Elan IIe 35mm camera because the camera back had a broken latch that wasn't worth fixing. The Elan IIe was an extremely high-tech, top-of-the-line prosumer camera when it was first released, but the coolest thing about it as that it's compatible with all Canon EF lenses. So, I attached a 50mm f/1.8 lens to this old camera and got to walking around.
It was mid-January and that meant I had to make hay with my camera while the sun was shining because it sets so early in winter. I decided to take shelter from the wind by heading into a bar that looked like it was straight out of a '70s film à la The French Connection or The Friends of Eddie Coyle.
First thing I noticed when I walked in was the man pulled up to the bar, three sheets to the wind at 3:45 in the afternoon. Next thing I noticed was the Marilyn Monroe posters behind him. I quickly raised my tank of a camera and fired. No one seemed to mind, so I made a few more photographs and then made my way back outside.
After developing the film, I realized this particular photograph was extraordinary in that it doesn't look like something that was made in this decade. As for the title of this image, well, I'm sure you can figure it out.
[Fuji Superia 400 Color Negative Film]
On a whim, I decided to start a photo series revolving around billiard players in the Chicago area. Because I like unusual characters, I decided to go to random pool halls late at night. Once I realized how much time it was going to take to create a fully realized series, I shelved the project. However, this photograph features the very first pool hall I went to. See that guy walking away? He was one of about 8 people who cleared the room as soon as I took out my camera.
This is candid photograph features a woman retrieving her clothes from a drying machine in a laundromat late at night. Why was I in a laundromat at 11? Simple. I didn't have anywhere to wash my clothes at that time and had to use a laundromat.
The photograph itself is pretty self-explanatory, but as for the technique behind it, I tried to take this as quickly as possible while keeping everything in line. It's just a simple, humorous, and memorable 35mm photograph. (Note: if you enjoy candid photographs like the one above, you'll probably enjoy the work of Martin Parr.)
[Fuji Superia 800 Color Negative Film]
This 35mm photograph is one of my personal favorite candid photographs. It was made on St. Patrick's Day with my trusty Minolta X-700 while visiting the Crown Fountain in Millennium Park.
As for the title of this photograph, it's Orwellian in nature. You've got Big Brother smiling on the screen as the skateboarder does his thing, much to the displeasure of security guards and police officers in Millennium Park.
[Fuji Superia 400 Color Negative Film]
After hours of walking around the Loop, I decided to head back down Michigan Avenue one last time before the sun went down.
It was a chilly day in late winter, but I was probably the happiest man in the entire city. For whatever reason, I was seeing street scenes moments before they happened, and this one was no different.
These two men were shielding themselves from the fierce winds outside the famous Allsaints when I noticed how cool (and cold) they looked. one of them had a pack of Marlboros in their hand, which meant he was going to light up at any moment.
As soon as the guy in the black jacket lit his cigarette, I backtracked, aimed, and fired. As long as I didn't damage or lose the film on my way home, I knew this would be a keeper. And it was.
[Fuji Superia 400 Color Negative Film]
Long exposure of the Chicago River appearing to wash away the reflections of the lights from the Michigan Avenue Bridge. It could be argued that the bridge's lights are the dripping paint to the Chicago River's beautiful, flowing canvas.
This photograph features a magnificent view of downtown Chicago on a warm, Autumn afternoon. If this finished print appears to have a vintage aesthetic, it's because I've altered the colors and grain structure to closely mimic Autochromes from the early 20th century.
Long Night's Journey Into Day
The Adler Planetarium is one of Chicago's most visited tourist attractions. Photographers, like myself, especially love the views of the city provided to us by Solidarity Drive.
The morning I made my trek out to the planetarium can best be described as a traditional Chicago morning: extremely cold, and extremely windy. To ensure camera shake wasn't an issue, I made five exposures of Chicago's skyline shortly before dawn. After zooming in on them on my LCD screen, it looked almost as if the city's skyline had been sandwiched between two heavenly bodies of silky smooth liquid.
The Fifth Star of Chicago
As you may or may not know, the flag of Chicago has four six-pointed red stars that represent major historical events. In the last 25-30 years, Chicago has earned a reputation as being one of the most violent cities in America, with the early '90s being its most terbulent era. Coincidentally, Chicago is also known for having a culturally diverse population whose dispositions are, for the most part, friendly and welcoming. This double exposure acknowledges these Chicagoan traits and blends them together in a very positive, artistic, and symbolic manner.
In the foreground, there's two firearms pointed at each other. Why? Because violence hurts both the victim and the aggressor. When you injure someone else, you're also injuring yourself; it becomes a vicious, seemingly endless cycle, a point driven home by the ouroboric firearms at the center of this photograph.
The background image is actually a piece of graffiti that resides on the wall of an international hostel. By painting welcoming messages in all different languages, the hostel's intention was to welcome everyone, regardless of nationality, to Chicago.
After separately photographing the graffiti-covered wall and the ouroboric firearms, I combined them together in post-production to mimic the effect of a double-exposure. The idea being, if the stars on Chicago's flag represent historical events, the fifth one ought to be the city's historic decline in violence! This historic decline can only happen if Chicagoans realize that the only way to improve the city is by elevating others. By elevating others, you elevate yourself.