Category Archives: Chicago Art Photography

Photo of the Day: Wicker Park

Wicker Park on the northwest side is one Chicago’s most colorful neighborhoods.  Teeming with artists, students, hipsters, hippies, and members of the 47% that Romney says are sponging off the government, the area surrounding Six Corners (Damen/Milwaukee/North) has more tattoos per capita than anyplace in the known world.  Funky shops, funky restaurants, funky bars, and funky bookstores–this area can only be described as funky.

Wicker Park on a summer evening

Photo of the Day: North Avenue Bridge

My so-called “photo of the day” has proven to be inaccurate: it didn’t even take one week and already I forgot to post a photo to my blog.  I will rectify that oversight by posting two photos today.  This is a night view of the North Avenue Bridge over Lake Shore Drive.  It was taken a month ago on a very warm summer night; we won’t be having too many of those again for a long long time.

Bridge over Lake Shore Drive at North Avenue

 

Photo of the Day: Greek Fest

Mid-August means Greek Fest, and this year was the 63rd annual festival of feta, olive oil, spanikopita, and Greek dancing.  To the uninitiated, the dancing looks like a Greek version of the hora: people dancing in a circle, people pretending to know what they are doing but really just faking it, and people dancing after eating too much food and trying not to be sick.  If you like to eat delicious Greek food with 50,000 good friends, this is the place to be.

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Photo of the Day: Winnetka cafe

I was recently hired by a local bank to capture some artistic photos of the sedate leafy suburb of Winnetka. There were lots of photos of quaint shops, half-timber ersatz English facades, and assorted architectural details, but this photo of a cafe window was my favorite.  I like the colors, the many depths of activity, and the cacophony of shapes.

Cafe window in Winnetka

Photo of the Day: Skyline from the lake

Last weekend was incredibly clear, puffy white clouds filled the sky–basically a perfect day for photos.  The city never looked better.  It took me almost an hour to swim out to this spot, plus it was incredibly difficult to keep the water off my lens.  The things I do for my art.

Chicago skyline from Lake Michigan

 

Photo of the Day: The Rookery Staircase

Today is the first day of what I hope will become a regular daily feature.  I want to post a photo on my blog every day; I realize this is a big step, a big responsibility, a venture into the unknown.  But as the Zen Master says, “a journey of a 1000 miles begins with one step”…I think he really meant one photo.  So here goes….

This is the staircase at the Rookery Building, designed by Burnham and Root. This is one of my favorite buildings in Chicago, unfortunately access is restricted, so I haven’t been able to shoot there in decades.  Luckily I had an assignment in the building last week and updated my collection of Rookery photos.

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CHICAGO AFTER DARK

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When the sun goes down, the colors come alive. Anyone who has done nighttime photography will attest to the amazing colors and wowie zowie effects that can mysteriously appear; invariably, the colors are better and more intense than what you see with the naked eye. Of course a tripod is essential unless you are going for some wacky motion effects or doing flash photography. Here is an assortment of photos I took in Chicago at night–if I wasn’t such a “morning person” I would be doing this more often.

Dominick’s Next Chef

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Dominick’s parent company Safeway was on the hunt for a new corporate chef.  Rather than going through normal channels, they held a Facebook-based search which culminated in chef competitions in Seattle, San Francisco and Chicago.  I photographed the Chicago cook-off at Le Cordon Bleu cooking school; the competition was fierce, the aromas were enticing, and the final creations were delicious.  The winning chef is headed for SF to compete against the other two finalists, and the top chef will be awarded with a job at Safeway’s corporate kitchens.

 

Chicago’s Union Station

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One of the most incredible interior spaces in Chicago is rarely seen, unless you are a commuter or Amtrak loyalist.  And even then, most people rushing to or from their train have little time to stop and admire the breathtaking architecture surrounding them.  Union Station was completed in 1925 by the architectural firm of  Graham, Anderson and Probst, though Daniel Burnham drew up the original plans; he died before his plan could be realized.  The 110’ high, block-long Great Hall is a vast space defined by it’s barrel-vaulted ceiling and rows of Corinthian columns (not related to the Corinthian leather in your dad’s Chrysler).  As many as 100,000 passed through Union Station back in its heydey in the 1940s, though today it’s a small fraction of that number.  Next time you are in the west Loop, grab a sandwich and have lunch sitting on the benches in the Great Hall and just admire how grand architecture can inspire the soul–or at least make for an enjoyable lunch.

Charlie Trotter, in rememberence

The following post was was from 2012 when Charlie Trotter closed his world famous and legendary restaurant on Armitage, and chose to move on to greener and more fulfilling pastures.  Earlier this week, we received the shocking news of his untimely passing.  During his career, Charlie reinvented what it means to create cutting edge meals, and his food ideas have become standard fare for chefs around the world.  Sure he ruffled some feathers along the way, and was known for his abrasive leadership style, but most of all, Charlie will be remembered for the amazing food he prepared, the chefs he trained, and the pleasure he shared with thousands of diners throughout the years.  We will miss you Chef.

 

It’s been a beautiful run, but after 25 years, Charlie Trotter is calling it quits. Just like that leftover lasagna–even if it’s still good for a late-night snack–at some point you just have to say goodbye.  Trotter is leaving when he’s at the top of his game.  Since 1987, his Lincoln Park restaurant has been a Mecca to foodies and culinary aficionados from around the world.  Not only did he introduce a new philosophy to gourmet cooking, he trained hundreds of fine chefs who have gone on to great acclaim (Grant Achatz for one).   A PBS TV star and author of 14 cookbooks, Trotter was a virtual food empire, and has received a pantry full of awards and accolades.  When Chicago magazine name him the “second-meanest person” in the city, he was upset because he never likes to be Number Two.  I had the privilege of photographing him several times in the past 20 years, and he has always been a gentleman, generous with his time, and respectful of my craft.  Here are some photos from my visits to Charlie Trotter’s restaurant.

World famous chef Charlie Trotter in 1998 for Wine Spectator20 years ago, Charlie Trotter in 1992 for Town & Country magazineThe famous table in the kitchen at Charlie TrottersThe staff at Charlie Trotters in 1998--any famous chefs in this photo?The dining room in 1992The dining room in 1992 at Charlie Trotters restaurant in Lincoln  ParkArtistic food creations at Charlie Trotters in 1992A fruit soup at Charlie Trotters in 1992 for Town & Country magazineThe famous table in the kitchen at Charlie Trotters 1992Artistic food creation at Charlie Trotters in 1992Artistic food creation at Charlie Trotters in 1992Young chef Charlie Trotter in 1992Charlie Trotter in the kitchen in 1995World famous Charlie Trotters restaurant on Armitage in Lincoln Park in 2010