We try to make our homes as comfortable as possible.
To me, “comfort” is another way of saying “neutral”. After all, it wouldn’t be much of a home if our senses were always on alert, constantly excited by stimuli. We can’t help but make our homes into neutral, inoffensive places in which we can feel comfortable and relaxed. I think we tend to also view the local area through the same goggles of neutrality. The problem with this, photographically, is that everything becomes a bit dulled in our own cities. Nothing really stands out as being fantastically interesting and worthy of capturing on camera, at least not in the way things might stand out when visiting somewhere new when everything is alive. For these reasons, I’ve found constant challenge in photographing the places in which I’ve lived.
Chicago is not a neutral place.
I’ve called Chicago home for most of the last 7 years. The city is colorful and vibrant. In my mind, the city remains on top as one of the most beautiful and interesting in the world, even after having traveled extensively. The skyline is stunning, its imposing good looks rivaled only by those of Hong Kong and Shanghai. Living here has its perks as well as its challenges, but overall it’s been a great experience.
Yet I’ve still found it a difficult place to capture on camera.
It’s taken me 7 years to amass the same small collection of photos I might just as easily have captured in week if I was visiting from elsewhere. Maybe it’s the idea that the skyline is just down the street, and I can always photograph it tomorrow. The sense of urgency is gone, and the motivation went with it. Between that and wanting to feel comfortable here, the pictures haven’t come easy. Even so I’m happy with the ones I’ve captures so far, however slowly. I know that if I keep my eyes open and view this place with the awe of a first time visitor, I’ll see more of the interesting things which might otherwise fade into the background noise of calling this place home.
Do you have the same problems photographing where you live?
This is Chicago, as I’ve seen it over the last 7 years.