Impression of State and Adams

My impression of the intersection of State and Adams in downtown Chicago.

My impression of the intersection of State and Adams in downtown Chicago.

I’ve been a street shooter for years. Love it. I see combinations of lines, curves and colors everywhere. These days I continue to experiment with shifting from the literal nature of straight photography to a more impressionistic look. Here is my latest adventure. Removed many details, pumped up some of the colors and contrasts, a little masking here and there, adjusted levels – and here you go. A nice Spring day in the city.

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Chi-Town Jazz Festival Highlights

2015 marked the 6th year of the Chi-Town Jazz Festival Supporting Hunger Relief in Chicago. The four day event took place at major music venues including The Jazz Showcase, Andy’s Jazz Club & Restaurant, Green Mill, and FitzGerald’s. A performance of Monk compositions was hosted at pianoForte and Jazz Vespers featuring Sacred Music by Duke Ellington was featured at the First Presbyterian Church in Evanston. All venues donated their space and musicians donated their time and considerable talents. Money collected was donated to four nonprofits this year including Care For Real, Top Box Foods, West Suburban PADS, and Catholic Charities. Complete details about the Festival as well as many more photos are at http://chitownjazzfestival.org . I am honored to have been the photographer for this event every year since it began.

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Blue Line Subway Stop at Monroe

Blue Line Subway Stop at Monroe

Blue Line Subway Stop at Monroe

This is the subway station we waited at for the ride home on a beautiful Saturday afternoon after seeing the A. J. Motley exhibit at the Cultural Center, after having lunch at the Middle Eastern restaurant my wife found in the back of a jewelry store, after meeting Dana at Flax who told us about a wonderful photographer who makes immense collages that are framed at her store, after walking in crowds on one of the new crisp clear days of Spring. This image was manipulated with Photoshop adjustments and filters to combine some graphic effects with the otherwise straight photo.

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Jazz Club Bar Scene

Jazz Club Bar Scene

 

There are some wonderful places in the city to hear music. To me, this is the grandaddy of them all, Joe & Wayne Segal’s Jazz Showcase. I know, the Green Mill has been around since Al Capone days and its owner, Dave Jemilo has made his room one of the hottest spots in town. Yet the Showcase always reminds me of my first time I ever went to a bar to hear jazz. I was not quite 21. Joe Segal hosted a Sunday afternoon session in an old mansion just off Rush Street in a location that today is replaced by a pancake restaurant. It was 2:00 o’clock. I walked in wearing my double breasted plaid Miles Davis suit trying to look as cool and hip as a 20 year old could look, told Joe I wasn’t 21, he said that was OK they’d serve me some milk, and I sat down to listen to a piano trio. When leaving I asked Joe how to know when jazz was good. “Listen kid,” said Joe, “if you like it it’s good. If you don’t it isn’t.” Still works for me today.

I shot this in color, but decided to process it as a toned black and white image, decreasing details in the customers, also adding crosshatching and paint brush effects. Here is a section of this image to show the effects achieved.

Jazz Club Bar Scene - Section showing effects achieved using Photoshop.

Jazz Club Bar Scene – Section showing effects achieved using Photoshop.

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Before The Event Began

Before The Event Began

Before The Event Began

As a working photographer I cover many kinds of events. This one was at a research center in Chicago. TV stations were setting up for the press event, researchers, department heads, and PR people were milling about, networking, anticipating the arrival of speakers. I was attracted by the light. Didn’t want a straight photo. Didn’t want to be able to identify anyone. Just wanted to present the feel of the time and place. Photoshop filters applied the effects I needed. Pixels are replaced with brush strokes and crosshatching.

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At The Concert

At The Concert

At The Concert

I looked around as the lights dimmed and saw this scene. Everyone was looking at the stage, but I was looking at the room. Like so many of my photos, I don’t want to identify individuals. Instead, I wish to capture the feeling of a space. Photoshop filters and levels adjustments were used to replace pixels with brush strokes and cross-hatching.

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Pharaoh At A Fair

Pharaoh At A Fair

Pharaoh At A Fair

This antique photo from a lost archive in the corner of an old library somewhere in the city depicts a forgotten ruler in an ancient land reminding me of the Shelley poem, “OZYMANDIAS,” and the lines,

I met a traveller from an antique land

Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,

Half sunk, a shatter’d visage lies, whose frown

And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamp’d on these lifeless things,

The hand that mock’d them and the heart that fed.

And on the pedestal these words appear:

“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”

Nothing beside remains: round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,

The lone and level sands stretch far away.

No…wait. It’s just the front of a children’s ride at a summer street fair. It swings up and back, holding 2-3 squealing, screaming, laughing kids on warm nights surrounded by electric lights, the smells of carnival food, and clumps of every size and shape people slowly walking, talking. I worked it up in Photoshop. It was late at night in winter when I just had to create an image. Looked through many photos on file, then came to this one. Pushed and pulled, cropped, removed then added color. A nice experiment. Sorry for the confusion.

 

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Arnie’s Liquors

I am fascinated with city street corners. Sometimes I process them into paintings where you only see brush strokes and the effect of Photoshop filters. In this image I wanted to see a straight photo with details. Feels just right to me. I love the people walking along, each in their own world. Arnie’s is closed at this time of day, but may be open all night long. A street corner is prime space.

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New Stop Food & Tobacco

New Stop Food & Tobacco

New Stop Food & Tobacco

Little grocery stores like this one are all over the city. Buy a slushie, a sandwich, basic groceries for cooking, and don’t forget your lottery tickets. I found this one on a rainy, cold day in January. Photoshop helped me achieve the feeling I wanted by using a variety of adjustments and artist filters.

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Buy Sell Trade Fix At The Corner Of Kedzie And Somewhere

Buy Sell Trade Fix At The Corner Of Kedzie And Somewhere.

Buy Sell Trade Fix At The Corner Of Kedzie And Somewhere.

This is another example of my fascination with cityscapes and city corners. Here is a brief moment when there was no traffic moving through this usually busy intersection on the west side of Chicago. I shoot quickly as the design and color elements come together before me. Then they are gone. I have to do a book of city corners this year.

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