Spertus Institute for Jewish Studies & My Photographic Approach

Yay! This week is the first week I’m back to my weekly days out for some Chicago photography; it’s been far too long! And whaddya know…the sun was shining! Maybe my luck is turning around this year.
I randomly wandered around for awhile this morning while waiting to meet up with a photographer friend (those randoms will come in a later post) for the real destination of the day, the Spertus Institute for Jewish Studies.
I came across Spertus in this post I read awhile ago about interesting architecture around Chicago. While I’ve photographed most of the buildings mentioned, there are a few I definitely want to make it to over the next couple of months…this is the first one.
My general plan of attack when I schedule a day for photography is to focus on one building, I’m definitely not one to cram in as much as I can. I like to take my time and really focus on one building at a time, studying it from different angles and vantage points and how the light interacts with the building. This is just what works for me, it keeps me from feeling overwhelmed and allows me to focus. And it’s nice to get a chance to see interesting museum or gallery exhibitions with any extra time I have. And maybe meet my husband for a kid-free lunch so we can actually have a conversation without being interrupted a billion times.
Sometimes I’ll look at images others have made of what I intend to shoot before going out, but often I don’t. I can’t say there’s any particular reason for this other than there’s a part of me that wants to have fresh eyes and a perspective on something I may be seeing for the first time. However, there have been images others have made that I come across after I’ve created my own that I really wish I had seen when I was out. But, the reality is, we all see differently and while I might wish I had seen the way someone else did…I didn’t and that’s fine, it never hurts to just accept your own unique vision.
There’s the saying with art that everything has been done before. There really aren’t (or it’s very rare) that there’s a truly original idea, but we all have our own unique way of seeing the world. While I generally prefer to shoot alone, it’s definitely interesting to see other photographer’s takes on the same subject when shooting at the same time.
We started photographing the exterior of the building, which has such amazing geometry, but I’m not terribly happy with the images, the light just wasn’t right, too harsh and flat and the sun wasn’t positioned ideally. I’d like to go back earlier in the morning, closer to sunrise for a little more drama. But the interior has equally amazing geometric patterns, I’m definitely much happier with these images. Take a look and let me know what you prefer.
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0 Responses

  1. Great work as usual. I like the way you approach a shoot. We have similar approaches, although I like to gobble up as many past images from other photogs of the subject and figure out if I can do it differently. As you mentioned, however, more often than not I can't. It's fun trying, though! LOL

    1. Thanks Jim! I can see looking through others work too as a way to get your bearings and figure out how you may approach something differently. But, I agree, it's not always easy to come up with something unique!

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