For my last semester as a senior, I took an independent study. I designed the coursework myself with the help of an advisor, and I completed the projects on my own. My project was about Chicago and my relationship to it, which I explored through photography. I learned so much about the city of Chicago and I am so proud to share some of my photos. Below are my artist’s statement and a select group of photos from my project.
GCE has helped open me up to exploring Chicago on a wider scale. Growing up in Evanston, I really never knew Chicago as much more than a fun excursion. Now, I feel at home in the city more than I do in the suburbs. I have gone all over the city for my project, from Pilsen, a neighborhood on the Southwest side, to my grandmother’s apartment in Wrigleyville- and even in GCE’s backyard, the shopping area on Armitage and Halsted. I have a special connection to all of these places. Each of them helped me learn more about my city and how awesome it is.
I used my photography to fuel this exploration, sticking to film over the now easier and more common digital. All of my photos were shot on either 35 mm film with my Olympus OM-1 SLR or on 120mm film with my Yashica Mat-G Twin-Lens camera. Each camera has its pros and cons, so I chose to get the best of both worlds and use both resources.
Once I had taken the pictures (I took over 100 photos over the course of the project) I developed them in a darkroom. I became a member for a month at the Chicago Community Darkroom on Milwaukee and Division, another part of the city I was unfamiliar with and got to explore. I developed all of my film and most of my prints there, with the exception of 5 that I chose to print on an Inkjet printer after converting them to digital files.
I also kept a couple journal entries over my Independent study. These are interspersed with the photos and document my process throughout the term. They are also documentaries of my different field experiences I went on to learn more about photography and the artist’s process. These experiences took me many places- to my old photography teacher, all the way to the Art Institute of Chicago’s Picasso exhibit and a member lecture about it.
I learned a lot from my study, and I am proud to present my final product. It was a lot of hard work, many frustrations and some sweating in the sun, but I am so happy with the way it turned out.