I had all but given up on finding another Banksy in town when I saw a little chatter and thanks to a tip on Flickr by Molly I heard the ‘You concrete me’ piece was in Pilsen. Everything I had seen before said this piece was in San Francisco (with some of his best US pieces in my opinion). It’s fun. It’s cute. But again I wanted something a little more than comical. According to his website this is a Banksy but like all his other pieces I dont know and neither do you so let the debate begin.
Archive for Street Photography
Banksy in Chicago? Some people are doubting Banksy stopped in the “City of Big Shoulders” but his website has a picture from this same west loop location and the same buggy on it so many are assuming it’s legit. But can you ever really know? There is one thing for sure it will not be there forever.
I think it’s fun but he has put out so many pieces with such better themes or a message. There much more he could do in Chicago. Perhaps one with a message (or at least a clearer one). Chicago and America are full of things right now that seem like easy targets for Banksy. There is police and political corruption running rampant in this town, two wars and an environmental catastrophe. There is so much to talk about that doesn’t pay homage to Kevin Costner. C’mon Banksy where are the rest?
I am hoping for another to turn up real soon….
Until that happens here are some pics during the day and then I returned for some night shots too. You be the judge.
Banksy or Bunksy?
I was riding my bike north on Damen Avenue in Chicago the other day when I came across this guy. Lucky for me I had my camera in my bag, but at the same time it was in two pieces. I immediately turned around and rode back over the bridge that I wanted to get a shot of him crossing. I knew I had a little time because the bridge is at a pretty steep angle for the load he is carrying and he would be forced to slow down. I quickly dropped my bike and through my lens on as quick as possible and completely guessed on the ISO and shutter speed (which is why it is a little blown out) but I already knew I wanted to shoot it at f 2.8 to try and make him pop a little more. Now this guy is either moving across town or came across the ULTIMATE free sale in an alley! Either way I commend him for his effort and admire his dedication. I wish there had been more time to explore this picture and follow him a little more but I was getting close to being late to an afternoon appointment so this is all I could get.
It seems all my favorite pictures recently are of people walking or passing by. This set will be no different. I was on a photo hunt and wandered through the Wicker Park neighborhood in Chicago. Many of my best photos are made by waiting. I find a scene I like and then camp out until I get the picture I want. I have had decent luck with this technique before. A rainbow umbrella passes by or a woman wearing a yellow coat will pass through a scene that is almost completely yellow. Here are a couple of people that crossed my path after I found these interesting shadows under the L tracks.
If I ever need to be reminded how awesome it is to live in Chicago, all I need to do is go mess around with my camera at the Kinzie Street Bridge.When I am riding my bike and I am anywhere near I usually make it a point to cross the river on this bridge. Yesterday was no different even though I was walking and I before I realized how long I had been out – I had journeyed for 5 miles and found myself near the bridge and had to shoot a couple frames. I know I am not un-earthing a new gem here since I see photographers here nearly every visit and this is a spot I love to take couples for pictures on their wedding day and the pictures always turn out great but there is usually another wedding party there doing the same. But it is still one of my favorite views of Chicago and I will continue to come back and take pictures and go home and smile when I see them. And as a friend of mine said the other day and I couldn’t agree more….
‘I pretty much love any view of Chicago as long as it’s from a bridge.’
It was also the bridge John Cusack did the ‘Top five things I miss about Laura’ monologue in High Fidelity.
I got out again yesterday in search of making a good picture in downtown Chicago. I do not know what it is about photographing in the loop but I can very rarely capture the feeling I get when I am there. Perhaps there are too many tourists or maybe I am just looking deeper than I actually should. I am pleased with a couple of the images I have made but I am not quite satisfied. They always leave me wanting more. I think next time I will try to hang out a little more in the financial district and see what kind of business folk I can get while they are talking on their phone and hailing a cab. Until then all I have is this woman and her purple hat from the corner of Madison Street and Wabash Avenue.
While the weather was perfect to be walking around in a long-sleeved shirt and no beanie for the first time in months – it wasn’t ideal for taking pictures during the middle of the day. With no clouds in the sky the light came down at vicious angles. While this may not be perfect for shooting a portrait – it definitely has a flair for the dramatic. It also gives me the super-contrasty look that I love in black-and-white photography. Here is my favorite one from the day. It’s at the six-way intersection where Bucktown and Wicker Park meet in Chicago.
Textures are always on my mind when I am out photographing. So I guess that makes me no different than nearly every professional and amateur photographer I have ever met. However, it amazes me how much variance there is in how each photog sees textures. Some love unique angles and some go for shallow depth of field. Some shoot the natural textures of the world and many love the beauty in a scene of a man made structure slowly withering away. Something I always look for is a super contrasty* scene and if there are lots of shadows to exaggerate this then even better! More recently, I have been shooting as much as I can with a straight forward approach and vantage point. I have been forcing myself to rely less on angles in hopes of honing my composition skills. Here are a few recent examples of textures from around Chicago this year.
*made up photography word
I am not sure if I was cashing in some extra karma points or the photo gods were simply smiling down on me but something went right for me in Logan Square on February 23, 2010. About 5o meters in front of me were two guys juggling out their front door and into the yard. I know my steps quickened as I approached and I am pretty sure I yelled out ‘dibs’ before my friend and fellow photographer even knew what I was talking about. I mean come on – Jugglers! And he is smoking a cigarette! It’s just not fair this shit’s just too easy.