Midwestern Plain

Midwestern Plain

My life is a jumble of places, which shows in my photography.  There are whole genres of pictures having to do with different spheres of my life, adding up to a fractured geography.  There are pictures of my home life in a city apartment, pictures of a vacation house in the Michigan woods, pictures of a farm my husband owns, tame pictures of a city that’s really wild, pictures of the places I’ve lived, and far-flung places my friends and family live now. More

Bus Stop Scenery

Bus Stop Scenery

I wait for the bus at the bottom of LaSalle Street, which is kind of a taken-for-granted scene.  In fact, you’re surrounded by notable and historical buildings, so many of them that the specialness of it all doesn’t even register.  Because, of course, we’re there everyday, waiting for the bus, still thinking about work, our feet tired.  Plus, that “commuter pride” thing kicks in—that wanting to appear blasé that proves you’re an insider, a work warrior, a city sophisticate—not a tourist or a rube. More

Corn Without Corn

Corn Without Corn

After two wonderful years of harvests, our farmers have had a tough time of it this year.  The sun shone on them . . . too much.  The rains came . . . too little.  Now the outcome that experts were predicting has come to pass: endless fields of corn with very low yield.  Here you can see More

Mortality

Mortality

Our uncle is dying.  Just a month or so ago, he was perfectly fine—a bit off perhaps—; today he’s in hospice, riddled with cancer, breathing his last.  He is far away, in Seattle, about to be more faraway still.  Wherever he is, he is one of the elders who props up our world.  His passing is momentous.  My husband and I think of him, his condition, constantly, the details vivid. More

Our Private Scenes

Our Private Scenes

One of the most appealing features of city life is the multiplicity of views.  No matter where you are, you are privileged with a distinctive view, with your own private scenery, if you like.  Look out the window, and you’re likely seeing the city in a way that almost no one else sees it, whether your view gives on to a street, a roof, the el, or an alley.

My life is shaped by these various scenes, which take on different colors according to the time of day.

The Big Picture

Panorama of Lincoln Park Conservatory and Gardens (Credit: Celia Place)

I’ve been obsessed lately with trying to take a decent picture of the Lincoln Park Conservatory that does justice to its setting.  I’ve tried going there at different times of day, but the shadows can be distracting and it’s difficult to find the right vantage that does justice to the building, the central fountain, the gardens, and the statue at the foot of the scene.

I jumped off the bus last night on my way home to take a bunch of pictures to photoshop into More

Our Fair City

Our Fair City

What’s a great city without traffic?  We have plenty.  But traffic is part of a city’s poetry.  People love to see traffic in their views.  And if their city’s traffic is the worst, they like to brag about that, too.

I once worked in a building with a spectacular Lake Michigan view, and an amazingly intimate view of Lake Shore Drive.  When the weather was bad, people would gather at the windows to see the storm coming.  Their attention would invariably shift, though, to the remarkable traffic snarl building on the Drive.  The drama of bad traffic is one with which we all identify.

I have mixed feelings when driving back home from the countryside.  I feel pride when I see the skyline, repulsion at the ugliness lying at its skirts.  The city is an intensification of everything: human problems, human glories.  The closeness without closeness makes for stressful living.

This picture has been texturized with a grain effect.

Summer Flashed Past

Summer Flashed Past

Yes, I’m one of those people who saw summer from a city bus.  Sure, I grabbed a few nice country days, but I missed so much!  As my bus crept down the Avenue the other day, I admired the beautiful planters, and thought longingly of the Lichtenstein exhibit at the Art Institute, which I had yet to see.  (And didn’t see—it ended Monday.)

The idealist in me wishes to walk all around the city photographing the mature planters.  It would probably take days, but the wish is there, the wish to pay homage to the beauty of summer.

This photograph has been photoshopped using the “watercolor” effect.
It was a way to dignify a photo taken through the window of a city bus.

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