Photoshoot: Modern Ruins

Location #1 Mulford viaduct | 10:00am | 37° | windchill 28°  | Cloudy It’s cold. Really cold on bare hands but off to a good start. The mounting tape is totally working despite the damp and cold—in fact, don’t use any more of this marvelous 3M Outdoor Mounting tape than the required 4”. Prying Mosaic Elements off the walls with cold fingers is turning out to be Challenge #1. Tiny lush BLOOM against the vast deteriorating manmade structures is exactly the visual surprise I imagined.

Location #2 Greenleaf viaduct | 11:30am | 39° | windchill 30° | Partly Sunny

Setting up at the fabulous metal grid at the Greenleaf viaduct. There are remnants of graffiti showing through the buffing; along with the rusting metal and hardware it’s a piece of abstract art in its own right. The monochromatic GLYPHS are perfect on the gorgeous patina, making an interesting connection with the tagged surface.

Challenge #2 is reaching high enough on the grid to create an interesting composition of GLYPHS. Climbing a Dr Seuss-worthy stack of crates teetering on top of stepstool perched on top of a tree root counterbalanced by concrete debris, I manage to get the top GLYPH affixed. An Evanston Police Officer stops by. He’s mostly interested in my plans for the viaduct. With the guarantee that we’re not permanently contributing anything to the existing patina he’s off. Challenge #3: The sun has come out and we’re getting hard shadows. So we wait, squinting and frowning at the brave November sun and cheering on the wisps of cloud.

Location #3 Clark Street Breakwater | 1:00pm | 36° | windchill 26° | Snow

I found the breakwater on a warm sunny day a while back. In dry conditions, it has a gorgeous rich patina of blacks and browns with rust accents. I loved the idea of photographing FLOAT in its natural habitat of sky+water. The breakwater looks totally different today. There’s no patina; just blackhole steel. And I begin to understand its function as the wind whips up from the north, tiny snowflakes swirl and waves crash over and through the massive steel barrier. We move farther along the breakwater in search of a section with less water pouring down it. We find a small useable section. I affix FLOAT. It’s funny to be in the snow with waves crashing around us. We’re laughing. We're trying to take pictures. Challenge #4: And then our funny snow shower turns evil and it’s a full-on winter blizzard with ice pellets pouring down and the wind roaring. Cameras won’t focus and things are getting wet.  We call it, grabbing art and cameras and gear and scramble off the beach. Sigh. Back to Location #1 to take a few last images of FLOAT, a little forlorn away from its majestic aqueous setting. For now, we have to settle for dripping water and stalactites. But I know I’m going back to finish FLOAT.

Home | 2:00pm

Done. Back home. Great day. And it only takes a few hours for the feeling to return to my fingers. Can’t wait for proofs.

* No mosaics were harmed in the making of these images.


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