It’s okay to love those buildings, even before they’re done

Moon and crane working high above 1001 South State Street

The moon guides a Walsh Construction working high above 1001 South State Street. One of my favorite shots.

In the days when I couldn’t be bothered to carry a camera around with me, I was content to look at trees and puppies and sunsets, as one does. If I went somewhere special, I could be persuaded to snap a shot or two of a particularly scenic venue. But over all, I was fine living with the images in my head.

Then, the iPhone era took over, and suddenly I was noticing things I’d never paid attention to. Buildings, bridges, a well-cooked steak. All were now items of fascination for me, things I’d want to look back on fondly. And now I had an easy means of doing so, because a camera could fit in my pocket, instead of a padded shoulder bag that made my back sweat.

My obsession with buildings (I never call it “architecture.” I know very little about “architecture,” but I love buildings) would soon morph into a love of the construction process. Not just the finished product itself, though I still thoroughly enjoy searching for new angles from which to photograph existing structures. But now, I like to document the progress that transforms an empty lot into a towering skyscraper. That means trying to get to that parking lot while the cars are still there, before any equipment comes in to start sampling the soil or drilling the caissons.

And what I’ve come to realize is this: the lines, the colors, the geometry of a construction site, often make for as compelling a photo shoot as the skyscraper itself. My favorites? You already know about 150 North Riverside. It’s teamed with River Point and Wolf Point West to create an amazing spectacle along the Chicago River I like to call The Riverbend Three. The construction at 1001 South State Street has also been fun to watch. So many lines (and a #mooncrane!) so little time.

Want to see what I see? Of course you do:




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