Chicago photos…

John Smyth
Originally uploaded by mugsy1274.

I applied for a photography contributor with Chicagoist, and need to put together a “portfolio” of some of my best pictures of Chicago. The set I am creating is located here – I’ll be adding to it throughout the weekend, so I would sure appreciate it if you all could take a look at them, and leave comments on the images you like best. This will help me a ton.

Matt’s Chicago photos

If it helps, this is the description of what Chicagoist is looking for:
Chicagoist loves to bring you photos of our city and our city’s people. We added the Flickr button so everyone can participate, but we still want to get a photographer of our own for the Focus feature of the site. Share your photos with us on a weekly basis.

And this is what they emailed me and asked me to provide:
Sample photos. We want to see what kind of style you have and how you capture the city. Send us links to 5 or 7 photos of Chicago that you think are your best work and best capture the essence of Chicago. Remember, this isn’t always like a photo of the Sears Tower or the marquee on the Chicago Theater. Sometimes it’s the local bakery or the kids on the corner playing ball. This is the kind of stuff we want.


~ by Matt Stratton on January 13, 2006.

4 Responses to “Chicago photos…”

  1. You’re just getting started and you’ve got some really good stuff going on. It looks like you pick a certain technique and experiment with it, which is a great way to learn any new medium.

    My take on what it sounds like they are looking for, though, are things a little more up close and personal. You’re definitely on the right track, but what I’d work on is capturing more intensity, more grit. I’d work with tighter-cropped shots as one avenue of exploration.

    The first thing that comes to mind as far as examples of what I am talking about are from Peter Elliott’s book entitled Park Life: The Summer of 1977 at Comiskey Park in Chicago. I think it may be out of print and as such, hard to find but is what I’m talking about in capturing that sort of essence.

    My brother also does photo stuff around Wicker Park and some of his stuff is live on MySpace:


  2. I appreciate the input. That’s super helpful.

    One thing I know for sure – I need more pictures of *people* for this. The pictures from yesterday were mostly taken outside of my office while hunkering under shelter from rain and snow 🙂

    I do have what I hope are two good ideas for shots to take downtown; one is going to have to wait until the spring (since it has to be taken around 5 PM, and right now it’s too dark for the shot I want). The other I should be able to get on Tuesday, as long as I can find the right construction site.

    Today I’m going to go take some shots out on Southport (should be lots of good dog pictures, heh) and I’m going to the MSI later, which might result in some neat pictures of kids.

    Again, I appreciate the input!

  3. Looking at this as a journalist:
    They want something that says “Chicago”. That doesn’t have to be a specific place, although i really like the Union Square qnd Golden Apple parking lot shots for that. They combine your style with the indisputable Chicago place value (a term i think i made up to express this idea).

    The dude smoking to me also strongly says “Chicago” and it’s not only because of the hat, although that helps. It’s the mood and posture and mannerisms of the man. A thick, slightly unpolished guy’s guy = Chicago man to me.

    As for two other place photos… the church photo is OK but looks neither intentional NOR serendipitous enough to stand out. likewise with the other Apple photo, plus i like the parking lot one better, as it’s scripty writing is just 10x more interesting than ordinary block.

    Your other sign/structure photos seem bereft of place, time, etc. They are only interesting as geometric compositions. which might be fine if this was solely for art. but it’s for journalism, so abstractions lose out.

    my 2c.

  4. I appreciate that. I took a couple more today and added them to the set…I tried to do more with actual people (since that’s my goal anyway).

    I liked your input about the picture of John. That’s pretty much exactly what I was going for with that one. I just wish that it wasn’t such a noisy picture.

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