A return trip to a much loved spot
I found myself back at the University of Chicago some months ago and was striking a wayward path home when I decided to stop by a lovely spot to pay homage to a favorite photograph of mine.
Summer was just beginning and gone was the thick blanket of snow, but the character of the social sciences quad remains, independent of season. A fair tempest was brewing and the branches of the great trees were threshing the air as the last few direct rays of sunlight had faded and twilight set in. My previous blog, The Windy Pixel, is long gone, along with its posts, but the text I maintained on flickr and have reproduced the original post and photograph here.
"There is much I love about using a camera to record images of places I like or things that strike my fancy. One of my very favorite things, however, is to see or hear about another person making an emotional connection to my imagery. That photography "works" in the first place is a strange and wonderful thing, as it is an abstraction much the same way that the words I typed and you now view on your screen are connecting my ideas through space and time to your own. That you or I can connect our favorite places or photographs to important moments in our lives and form associative emotions around those connections is more wonderful indeed.
Roger Ebert (the famous and even-handed film critic) wrote a wonderful blog entry, titled The image of a man you do not see after a famous Louis Sullivan quote, about how much more stirring and powerful he believes older styles of architecture to be - using my photographs as both example and inspiration. Ebert is a thoughtful and talented writer who explains why ornament and decoration are not to be discounted in their soul-stirring powers, especially when contrasted with the daring but less dreamy spaces of even the most talented modern architects. His own experience at the University of Chicago for a year as a doctoral student was what connected his mental stream and my own via the photographs featured here in the series I've done on campus. I will take this as high praise indeed from a man who has experienced all the highs and lows of cinematic photography of the last decades and, like Nero of old, has not hesitated to render judgement with his thumbs :). A thousand thanks to Roger Ebert and to whatever kind soul turned him on to this website!
Today's photograph is a much loved spot on campus and it is a different view of the same spot featured yesterday. Here you can see the same archway in the dreamy and close throes of blue hour during a snowstorm. I had my camera at the ready, and couldn't resist the temptation, when twilight arrived, to rush out into the Gothic splendor of campus and record a few bits and pieces for memory's sake. Much like Ebert's take on architecture, I believe photograph has more to offer in ornament and detail than my art history and art appreciation courses might indicate. I have great faith in the eyes and hearts of the common man to see and to connect with aesthetic beauty in photography."