Click on thumbnail to enlarge image, view caption and use slideshow options. To return to this page click on the image background IMAGES 2012 These images concentrate on details from building fenestrations in the Loop area of the city and are a continuation of nearby gallery CHICAGO 7. The dense accummulation of architectural styles from a relatively short time span is exhilarating and inspirational. On the street, I wanted to record tightly framed details, think in black and white and envisage a square format through cropping down from the camera’s rectangular format. Aspects of formal geometry, pattern, repetition and the graphic possibilities of monochrome light and shade influenced these designs. (continued)Apartment towers in various styles front Lake Shore Drive and the shoreline of Lake Michigan north from East Randolph Street. This image contrasts structural geometry from facades set an angle to one another. Down town Chicago is compact and its high rise buildings can comfortably be explored on foot. Much of my photography was very much on the move rather than intensely considered: a tripod was occasionally used. I regret that I did not work more after dark. (Continued)Working with line, shape, pattern, colour, texture, form, surface, composition, design and construction came as part of a very long practical and theoretical involvement with the visual arts and applied design. Photography played an occasional supporting role as a recording process but following the acquisition of a digital camera in 2003 light rather than pigment became a much more important factor than before. Those earlier concerns continued in a less familiar medium offering more exciting possibilities in colour abstraction than the paintings I was involved with at that time. Please look at the adjacent ARCHITECTURE ABSTRACTS gallery of colour abstractions. (Continued)In the late nineties I completed a one-year Saturday course in black and white film photography at a college of art. Interpretation of set assignments and their critical analysis by tutors and fellow students alike, were central to the programme. It reinforced my liking for that particular medium, created over many years by looking at other people’s images rather than by creating my own. A majority of the other galleries are devoted to colour but I’m being drawn more and more to thinking about images in black and white at the low key end of the scale. (continued)I work in conventional rectangular formats but will use mental and physical cropping to create the image envisaged. The square format appeals and seemed entirely appropriate to this double set of details from Chicago buildings. Architecture incorporates line, shape, geometry, pattern, form, transparency, reflection, shadow and the ever fascinating subtleties created by light across days and seasons. These elements seem to be enhanced when the architectural abstraction is contained within a square. Camera tilt adds a third eye in addition to the two-dimensional frontal and the three dimensional perspective views. (continued)I like the formality possible in creating the geometric division of space in photographing contemporary architecture. I’ve been fortunate to visit Chicago and would like to return for a more extended sojourn. The city centre is small enough to cover on foot and the kaleidoscope of design is exciting and compelling in scale and detail. The Art Institute of Chicago is superb, with its Modern Wing adding a fine architectural enhancement to the collections within. The Chicago L offers a unique if moving perspective on the cityscape and would be a great camera assignment in its own right. (continued)Staying within the Loop allowed dawn city walks within minutes of waking. Streets virtually free of traffic carried only a few people around were in beautiful contrast to the controlled confusion as the days evolved. I was disappointed in my hope that I’d watch at least one red sunrise over Lake Michigan to photograph reflected in the Michigan Avenue facades. After early walking and image making there was always a Corner Bakery to hand for a good breakfast. (continued)The Galleries indicate a varied range of subjects and I would never want to be limited to one, to be a labelled a “,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, photographer”. I follow particular interests but other possibilities, tangents and distractions insist on presenting themselves. The colour CHICAGO FRAGMENTS gallery contains chance encounters with small details whilst the monochrome CHICAGO BRIDGES gallery is a more documentary record of some of the bridge tender houses, both in contrast to this set formally recording window patterns. (closed)The assemblage of component forms, sheer surfaces of contrasting glass and the constant changes of reflected light and colour fascinated. Reflections of itself and surrounding buildings further enhanced and energised the stepped facades. It prompted mental associations with water in controlled free-fall from a great height. The Center stands on the site of the former North Western Station built by the Chicago & North Western Railroad in 1911. Commuter trains still operate from the lower floors. The long line of red lights on the trains ranked across the concourse and the rush of people moving to board add theatricality to the evening rush hour.There is a slight perceptual tonal change in the translation from colour to black and white in this image. The textured panels forming the window bays and recesses create a rhythm of light and shade across the stark simplicity of the apartment block façade. These aspects attracted me to a building much subdued in its context amongst more highly glazed and detailed neighbours arranged around Lake East Shore Park.General lighting was subdued but I was attracted by the light and shade reflected by the glass and framing in adjacent buildings. They added another element to the patterns on the formal geometry of the host. A few individual windows contained interior fragments within their frames. The narrow reflecting strips on the uprights of the building’s frame add a vertical emphasis. I liked the contrast between the strong rectilinear structure and the random abstractions contained within the frames of individual windows.This detail from the NBC Tower frames the limestone piers the inset tinted glass and the granite spandrels. Its linear emphasis, setbacks and rounded corners echo the Art Moderne style from earlier decades in the century. A larger scale image detail from the building’s entrance from the Cityfront Plaza Gardens is Image 15 in the CHICAGO 7 gallery.The plate glass in the slender metal tracery on the Madison Plaza building’s stepped façade carried both true and transformed reflections of itself and surrounding structures. The glazing bar reflections were very evident from the street but it was only when I enlarged one of the photographs that the reflective variety and subtlety of others fully emerged. A longer lens might have framed intriguing images.The colour parent of this image is posted as Image 11 in the gallery CHICAGO 3 that’s devoted to photographs of architecture to the east of Michigan Avenue. Apart from the linear pattern of the glazing bars and the variations in glass tone I was interested in the variety of abstracted reflections carried by the façade. It’s always slightly surprising to see how much distortion can be created on what we accept as a smooth and flat surface.The distinctive curving form of Lake Point Tower dominates the Lake Michigan waterfront and the final reach of the Chicago River. The building is a very strong design statement but within it the smaller details such as the window framing offer starting points from which to explore. Within the glazing grid there can be all manner of accidental interventions of interior details such as the blinds, curtains and window sill objects, all more evident in closer framing than here.In the original rectangular format image the angled overlap of the two buildings was further to the right in the frame. Reducing the image content concentrates attention on the variations in drapes/curtains/blinds against the strictly regulated metal window grid and the contrasts in fenestration left and right. The square format black and white images in this and Chicago 7 simplify the colour originals.Two staggered rectangular planform towers seemed to require a formal response through the organisation of rectangles within a square frame. I would have preferred the glass to reflect light from a clear sky without the intrusion of nearby buildings. Composing 35mm photographs with the thought that they might also be cropped to a square format is always interesting. Sometimes I work too quickly but using a tripod applies a useful brake to movement and an incentive to greater consideration.I was drawn to the varied forms, materials, colours, perspectives and geometric detailing in this parade of apartment buildings on the north bank of the Chicago River close to its entry into Lake Michigan. Walking the promenades on both river banks through the city centre is magical on a fine day especially if it’s possible to retrace steps later in the day under a different light. As introduction or enhancement, the views and the knowledgeable commentators on board a Chicago Architecture Foundation river cruise add a further dimension.