Archive for the ‘Illinois’ Category

Reading Cones in winter

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

I have always loved photographing sculpture, since those first assignments in my Jane Addams Community Center photo class in Chicago. It was during that time that I shot this photo, early one morning on my way to an office job in the Loop.

That typical Chicago winter weather made Richard Serra‘s “Reading Cones” stand out in a way that made me jump out of the car. Had I ever really seen this sculpture before that morning?

I’ve always liked this photo, and have given it as a gift, but this print has spent most of the last decade hidden away in a box. Last week, while hanging photos at home, I needed something vertical to fit a space in my installation and went searching for the one print I knew I had of the Reading Cones, on a soft matte fine art paper.

Now that it’s up there, I love living with it on my wall. It is grounding, regal, quiet and confident. And, it merits being printed bigger than the A4 I modestly permitted it.

Richard Serra's Reading Cones in Chicago's Grant Park.

Richard Serra’s Reading Cones in Chicago’s Grant Park.

Out of the vortex

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Some Illinois landscapes
pre-winter cold vortex


Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

It makes you see strange things
like a man taking out the garbage.

The Farnsworth

Friday, April 27th, 2012

When I saw the house, it was enchantment at first sight. I had tears.

In Plano, Illinois, floating in a meadow along the Fox River, stands The Farnsworth. I visited on a bright spring day, the sunlight so warmly shining through the trees into this almost completely transparent house. Its elegant mathematical minimalism totally had me. And then I saw the Tugendhat chairs! And those 1/4 inch polished glass windows that almost completely erase the barrier between interior and exterior! The Farnsworth is at once empty and full, and floating in comforting green.

A favorite detail: the only circles in the grid are the discreet electrical outlets in the floor. Mies wanted only lamps, tall and short, no over-head lighting. Man after my own heart.


Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

You’re going to tell me this photo is so banal and I’m going to tell you how much I love it.

You’re going to tell me it’s an ordinary country road and I’m going to tell you it’s the road between my parents’ houses, the route I’ve determined is the fastest, with the least traffic and the most open space.

You’re going to say it’s in the middle of nowhere and I’m going to say it’s a place I feel love.

You might know the stress of traveling between two pieces of your family, the guilt over not being there, the balance in your mind, the simultaneous leaving someone behind while joining someone else, looking behind you and in front of you and wanting to go in both directions at once.

No one can know how many times I’ve travelled this ordinary road, or how personal is the shape of that tree, how loved is this view over cornfields that make me feel so strongly a sense of place.

But I tell you, from a person who think she was born with one foot in melancholy, I am happy driving on this piece of road, in silence with the windows down.

Midwestern lapdog in jail

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

I want a dog. I travel often.
I live in an apartment. 6th floor, no elevator.
I have a roommate who absolutely does not
want anyone with four legs in the house.

Having a dog is obviously neither practical nor possible.
Yet I still want one so very badly.

I stopped going into pet stores because they make me cry.
The other day a dog named Little must have known because
he came and sat next to me while I was waiting for the metro,
like we were old friends.

The dog in the photo below was in jail about an hour outside of Chicago.
I think he got cut from his owners’ tightened budgets.

It puts a lump in my throat.

Midwestern lapdog in jail

I would name him Marcello.


Saturday, May 28th, 2011

She has raised 13 children, who gave her 30 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren with at least two on the horizon for 2011. There is a lot of love directed her way. She is the matriarch and hub of the clan. One night, while sharing concerns she told me, “living is not for sissies.”

From my perspective, she has always made it look easy. She worries much, but I come away from a conversation with her feeling reassured, grounded, loved.

Every time I come home she’s the hardest person to leave.

They have probably encountered each other only a handful of times, but Anna was drawn to Grandma without either of them saying a word.

Mounted to the wall

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Oh honey, don’t worry. No one is going to hang you on the wall.

The day I arrived at my parents’ house, my step-Dad had killed a deer with a bow and arrow. It was also the day I met the new dog. Yeah, that is a dog on my mother’s shoulder. I was skeptical about the idea of buying such a pet, but I dare anyone to meet her and not love her.

Mom's shoulder

Morning is frozen

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

I woke up with a text message from Dad saying, “Are you awake? Look at the trees.”

It’s a treat being home, and seeing the sun rising at the same time as my family. In a time zone seven hours ahead, this text wouldn’t make sense, it wouldn’t happen. Of course I’m awake, it’s 2pm!

So I piled on clothes, kissed the dog goodbye and headed out. If she had more meat on her bones she could’ve come with me but her little bird legs can’t handle the cold. She would have to ride inside my coat and she’d probably sneeze all over my camera.

Frost, 8am.

Back inside, I feel as frosted as those branches.
But my hands will soon be around a big warm mug of honey-sweetened coffee.

Hey Dad, look at the trees!

Twas the night before

Friday, December 24th, 2010

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

Adelina awaits

Revisiting 128

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Red sky at night, sailor’s delight.
Red sky in morning, sailors take warning.

Wise words from a Navy dad.

Boulder Hill, 7am. One block from Grandma's old house.

“Did you see the sunrise this morning?” I asked my dad yesterday. “It looked like the horizon was on fire.”

“Yes, we’re going to have some precipitation tonight.”
Indeed we did. Four inches.

My timing for visiting the old neighborhood was perfect,
except that I had forgotten my gloves.

Morning at Winrock Pond

Every time I’m alone in a car in this part of the world – it happens about once a year – I drive past my childhood home.

In Immortality, Kundera says, “memory does not make films, it makes photographs.” I think it makes something more like erratic stop-motion. This yearly drive-by puts me inside those old stills, to feel them with all five or more senses. Series of images flash in my mind, layers of them, which resemble the scene in front of me, which happened right in front of me, yet feel so very far. Years of change are evident in the developing wrinkle in my forehead and the pine tree I remember as a shrub.

The old house sleeps on frozen pond

I stood with freezing fingertips at the edge of the pond, watching the sun rise on my old bedroom window, not really sure what I was doing there. Curiosity. My answer for everything lately. I’ll put myself there and see what happens. I want to look at everything, and some things I want to look at today, tomorrow, next week and next year.

I felt the biting cold air and listened. I do not remember ever hearing the hum of a distant highway. My childhood was surrounded by farms, not four lanes and mini malls.

Sun rises and shines on my childhood's bedroom window

A 6-Year-Old’s Summer

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Spending summer evenings with Hannah.

Her last few weeks before first grade…

hannah montage

11 O’clock Moon

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

Post eclipse.

From a front yard in Illinois.

midwest moon

An Illinois playground

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

this used to be my playground.

winrock 3

for 14 years,

my entire childhood,

i looked out from my bedroom window

at this pond,

from that little white house

with the black roof,

and the red door.

winrock 2

these rocks used to be my mountains.

at one time i needed a helping hand to climb the tallest one.

now they seem almost pebbles,

but they have not moved.

See you later, Ally

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

Ally and Dani. Christmas 2007.

My dear dog Ally had to be put to sleep yesterday at 9:30 Chicago time, 4:30 Paris.  As I think of the first image I will post on my spanking new blog, this is all I can think of.  The sweet & sassy little thing will be missed.