Chicago: Loop (2009)

Michael A. Smith

In 2008, Paula and I were commissioned by Bob Wislow of U.S. Equities Realty to photograph Chicago. We were free to photograph anything that appealed to us, but Bob asked that we each concentrate on a particular subject. Paula said that she wanted to photograph the Chicago's shoreline all along the lake. That gave me the opening to photograph the buildings, mostly in the Loop, something I had wanted to do for almost thirty years. To do a project like this with our cumbersome equipment, a commission is essential. We could park in otherwise illegal spots, and we had access to rooftops from which to photograph. Half of the photographs, which were all from 8x20-inch negatives in my half of the book were made from rooftops, a few from a roof on the 90th floor of the Sears Tower.
The book is really a two-part book. My photographs are of the buildings. Flip the book over and it becomes Chicago: Lake, which consists of diptychs, triptychs, and quartets of Paula's photographs in black and white and in color, along with her drawings, assemblages, and writings. You get two books for the price of one.


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