Category Archives: Documentary Photography


Hot Summer City Night

It was a humid, hot evening as we enjoyed another couple while eating on the patio at one of the best, funkiest Cuban restaurant’s I’ve ever been to, 90 Miles From Cuba, on Armitage. Loud music, noisy people, delicious empanadas, ceviche and a bottle of red. Dusk turned to night. People, cars and kids floated by. So memorable. A special time.

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Night Music

“Night Music” Eric Schneider and Matt Ferguson at Andy’s Jazz Club for the 9th Annual Chi-Town Jazz Festival Supporting Hunger Relief. I have applied my changing vision and skills to documenting this fundraising event all nine years. 14 different bands donated their talents and 5 different venues donated their rooms all around Chicago. Great music for a worthy cause.

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Clark And Oak

Clark And Oak is the location of this building in Chicago. I have passed the intersection hundreds of times and may have noticed parts of it unconsciously. On this day, in this light, at this distance I suddenly became aware of the entire structure. What a beauty! With help from a few software apps I was able to correct the perspective and fine tune areas to present a finished image of my impression of how it looks.

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Building Detail With Chairs

“Building Detail With Chairs” is part of a new series, “Around Town.”

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Singing Mr Soul For Valentine’s Day

The Saalik Ziyad Group performs Sam Cooke’s 1963 album, “Mr. Soul”, at Chris Anderson’s Jazz Record Art Collective (JRAC) in Chicago.

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Party’s Over

Party’s Over by Harvey Tillis. A night of jazz had ended, everyone gone. Closing time. Use a variety of filters and adjustments to make the image feel the way I felt. Blur the lines between straight photography and a sketch.

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“Intersection” is a simple study of lines, space, and meaning set against the open sky. There are times when simple is a nice break from moody, mysterious, dark or busy. That time for me is now.

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Corner Newsstand, Florence – 1978

Here is a sample of my street photography before I knew what it was, before I knew I was a practitioner.

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Broadway Detour

Night photography is my favorite. Rain makes it even better. Creative options abound. Time to explore when shooting and again when processing.

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Between Sets

“Between Sets” – This image was processed using a variety of filters and adjustments to create my version of a scene and style Lautrec might have painted in a Montmartre night club in the 1890s. 

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Chance Of Snow

“Chance Of Snow” A winter scene in Chicago. Sometimes it takes a while to tease out the look and feel of an image. Musicians might experience this when they see sheet music they want to play, but haven’t worked through it enough to make it sound the way they feel it should sound. Same is true with photos I create.

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Happy New Year 2018!

Shot on a perfect chilly early winter night. On Lake Michigan while cruising off Navy Pier. Fireworks were a perfect addition. Happy New Year to all.

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Waiting. For her ride? For friends meeting here, in front of a music club? For the bus? Just contemplating and regrouping before proceeding with her life? I’ll never know.

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Client Will Be Right Down

The title of this image is self explanatory. I was there, waiting, looked up, saw this, shot it, and as I checked my exposure settings the elevator doors opened and out popped my client.

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Still Life With Drum Set, Painting, and Bricks

OK, this is not a bowl of fruit lit by a candle on a table. So what? I’m calling it a still life. Wikipedia says, “A still life (plural: still lifes) is…

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Stage Hands

Stage hands remove, re-set, test, then wait to do it again, and again.

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Harwood Tavern

This place is an easy walk from my place. Adventurous food, fine selection of beers, across the street from two other fine restaurants, a bakery, and The California Clipper with different music every night. Can’t beat this setup!

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Sunkiss Spa

Sunkiss Spa by Harvey Tillis. Street photography on a rainy night in Chicago.

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Keith’s restaurant in Whiting, IN, is a fantastic find of a place to have lunch or, on weekends, dinner.

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Oak Street Exit

Dusk on a rainy Saturday as traffic moves to the city’s evening adventures.

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Wabash In The Wet

Street photography for sure. On a wet afternoon on Wabash Avenue. Light, lines and a little color. What else does a shooter need?

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Grand To Howard Blur

…he sent me a Facebook challenge to produce 3 blurred photos over a 3 day period, bw or color at my discretion. This is the last one I submitted before challenging another photographer.

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A Moment In Time

Two people alone together amid the swirl of a busy night in the city.

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Eggelston Light

Eggelston Light by Harvey Tillis. This image is an homage to William Eggelston because the light made me think of him.

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On The Way To Dinner

We finished our drinks and walked out into the misting night. All was dark and quiet with only the factory in the distance hissing and puffing white smoke.

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Phil’s Kastle

I’m not sure if Phil’s is open or closed. Or what the hours are. Or what the menu might be. They do offer a deal on Monster burgers…

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Ms. Reid

“Equally adept in classical and jazz contexts, Tomeka Reid predominantly finds herself in experimental and improvisatory settings and composes for a wide range of instrumentation, from big band to chamber ensemble.”

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City Fire Escape

But I still like ’em because of the graphics they produce all day long. Revealing printed details easily seen on cloudy days, creating strong shadows on sunny days. They are a mess and tangle of iron rods that make perfect sense and save lives too. 

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Linda’s Flower Shop

And here is my spin on a photo that really looks like a painting of a place I didn’t know existed before, but sure helped me out when I wanted to do something thoughtful and fun for a friend. 

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Paris 1890’s Jazz Club Musicians

Paris 1890’s Jazz Club Musicians by Harvey Tillis. Some say this is a long lost sketch found in the stacks of a Paris library is by a little known artist of the day, Marvin Lowtreck, while he was living in poverty in Paris in the late 1800s… And, the story goes, some other guy copied his style and name and became better known. Well maybe.

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Peaceful Resting Place

Peaceful Resting Place by Harvey Tillis. Time passed. Years passed. Now I visit when I’m in the neighborhood which isn’t often. Lost memories coming back. Good times and bad. It’s still important to me. 

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Lost by Harvey Tillis. This image was inspired while looking through a fashion magazine showing models in random European locations appearing not to be aware of the camera. Creating a sense of story in a single frame. 

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Lunch At The Pick Me Up Cafe

Lunch At The Pick Me Up Cafe…Without Rich by Harvey Tillis. Another salute to Edward Hopper. I must have seen one of his paintings in a book or magazine over the past few days.

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Mr. Broast

Mr. Broast by Harvey Tillis. Mr. Broast serves food late every night. The glow of this fast food shop late at night caught my eye. Glad there was no one parked in front.

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Bike And Bricks

Bike And Bricks by Harvey Tillis. I visualized how this image would look before it was shot. That fast! Saw it and knew it would look like a frame from a comic book panel.

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An Ice Cream Kind Of Night

An Ice Cream Kind Of Night by Harvey Tillis. Stopped at a favorite place during the drive home for one last treat after a perfect July 4th weekend.

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Corner Home Early Evening

Corner Home Early Evening by Harvey Tillis. The architecture, color, and quiet of this place caught my eye and imagination. No traffic, distant sounds, or people. Time to indulge in a feast of details.

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Style In The Rain

Style In The Rain by Harvey Tillis. One of many large used furniture, appliance and electronics stores scattered around the city. Late at night in a rain storm.

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Family Outing

Family Outing by Harvey Tillis. Young couple with baby and dogs out for an early evening walk after work at the start of a weekend. 

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Summer Bean

Summer Bean by Harvey Tillis is a photograph of Cloud Gate, the public sculpture created by Anish Kapoor, known as The Bean, in Chicago’s Millennium Park.

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Tin Ceiling

Tin Ceiling by Harvey Tillis. …The first loft I lived in had a tin ceiling that was endlessly graphic and exciting. This one had a different pattern, but was equally cool…

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The Pavaroti/Hadid/Picasso Guy

Robben Ford by Harvey Tillis. Once in a great while, you hear someone much much better, significantly more masterful, more brilliant than all the other excellent musicians. That’s this guy.

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Pilsen Doorway 1221

Pilsen Doorway 1221 by Harvey Tillis. A Doorway on 18th Street in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood.

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Where You’r At

“Where You’re At” by Harvey Tillis. I was exploring new bicycle routes to and from the Logan Square Fresh Market one stunningly beautiful perfect Sunday morning. My street took me past a large empty lot. There might have been a factory on it for decades.

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57th Street Art Fair

57th Street Art Fair by Harvey Tillis. This art fair is a must for me. It’s the first one I make an effort to attend every year for at least the past 20 years.

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Armitage Building

Armitage Building by Harvey Tillis. This building has been a favorite of mine for years. I pass it often on bike rides through the city. Wanted to make it into an image that didn’t quite look like a photograph. Perhaps more like a sketch or etching, old and tinted.

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First Street Fair

First Street Fair by Harvey Tillis. A perfect clear night during Memorial Day weekend. Cool breeze. Squeals and laughter from kids in shorts and T-shirts enjoying being out among the lights, rides, and the promise of summer.

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City Living/Kinzie Street Bridge

City Living/Kinzie Street Bridge by Joy and Harvey Tillis. This image was captured by Joy Tillis. I applied a variety of adjustments and filters to achieve this final result. 

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Serenading Sam’s Wife

Serenading Sam’s Wife by Harvey Tillis. Sam hires musicians every Mother’s Day to play for his lovely wife, the mother of his children. Afterwards he takes them to play for his own mother.

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Small Town Pawn Shop

Small Town Pawn Shop by Harvey Tillis.  This is the lone building on a block off Main Street on the way out of a small town. Looked ominous. No activities nearby. No cars or sounds. Couldn’t see in. Should I explore?  Just say I’m looking around? Maybe next time I pass by. 

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