Details make patterns. Choices make habits. Imagining makes art. Believing makes seeing.
It’s been a while since I went out to wander and photograph just for the sake of wandering and photographing. It felt good: stretching my legs, stretching my imagination and shaking off this long strange summer. This was the weekend at Open House Chicago 2016.
Sandstone held to a bell tower with metal band-aids and hair nets. The bell tower survived the Great Fire in 1871, and still wears the blackened crown to prove it. Saint James Episcopal Cathedral.
Six red galeros, hats of dead bishops, streaming from the ceiling of Holy Name Cathedral. Hanging high behind the crucifix carved from one large piece of balsam wood, they wait for the day they collapse to dust and nothingness and return to the ground.
Ornate chandeliers are turned down low to let the stained glass windows tell their bible stories in the 2nd floor chapel of Saint James Chapel at Archbishop Quigley Center.
Ivy climbs and clings to the detail on the Fourth Presbyterian Church on Michigan Avenue, in the morning shadow of the Hancock. And in this church, at long last we get to go upstairs to the balcony…and there’s a pipe organ, gentle at first and then lighting up the guests with a loud pounce.
The 5th place was an art house in an old mansion. Giant windows, rimmed in dark wood. Pocket doors and white marble fireplaces in every room. Studios for rent and live models seven days a week. An open studio on the 3rd floor smelled of oil paint as I rounded the final set of stairs up. The old floors were for dancing when this was a home and this level housed a ballroom. Now the wood floors showed wear from drops of paint as artists made their art. At this moment, they were sans model, but they worked as if she were still there. An imaginary model. Cross breezes fluffed papers from the transom windows along the floor where the band used to sit.
The Monroe Building, with Rookwood tiles, and tiles, and tiles, and a working mail chute for the 14-story building. This building and the one across the street, on the north side of Monroe at Michigan stand like sentinels, equal sized gate posts, greeting traffic entering Chicago on what used to be the main thoroughfare.
The chapel in the sky at the Chicago Temple. The highest place of worship above street level. Twenty two floors via elevator, then A through E floors via a cozy elevator, then 31 steps up to this tiny little Sky Chapel. Stained glass windows line the room and limit views of the sky and the surrounding city. The wood is ash, preserved forever from the Emerald Ash Borers that have killed so many trees in the Midwest.