Northwestern University Segal Visitors Center

It’s been a very long time since I’ve taken a day to photograph sans kids. I need to get back to a more regular, focused shooting schedule and today was the first time moving back in that direction. I know, I write about this predicament a lot…finding/making the time is hard, really hard, and for some reason I can’t seem to get it together with forming and sticking to a regular schedule. That neverending list of things to be working on.
Anyhow, I at least got it together today and despite things looking less than ideal when I walked out of the house today…more gray, cold, dreary, depressing weather. Things quickly turned around and the sun decided to make a much needed appearance. Not only was I thrilled because I much prefer some sunshine when photographing but I don’t think I can take many more gray-sky days.
People are often surprised I prefer sunshine when photographing architecture and am even okay with mid-day, harsh light. Don’t get me wrong, I love that softer, beautiful light in the early morning and late afternoon but with my limited opportunities to shoot, even that mid-day light can work. I’ll certainly take it over flat gray skies any day. First of all, the sunshine gives more dimension to the architecture, there are shadows to play with, higher contrast, bright blue skies as a backdrop, sun flare and if you’re lucky some amazing clouds to offer a counterbalance to the man-made structures. There are just so many more options when you have more dynamic lighting.
Since I had some errands to run, and was in the car, I decided to drive up to Evanston to photograph a couple new Northwestern University buildings along the lakefront. The building in this post is the Segal Visitors Center designed by Perkins+Will. As a side note, the Perkins+Will Chicago office has an awesome view of the city and they’re usually part of Open House Chicago, which takes place in October. If you like architecture and great views of the city add their offices to your list.
Back to the Segal Visitors Center, I think the building is mostly complete with just some landscaping to finish up. Most of these images are photographed in my more typical way…isolating details, focusing on form rather than environmental versions of the building, bringing attention to what is so easy to miss when taking in the whole scene. Most often I think I like shooting this way because I’m a super detail-oriented person but it’s also just fun to take something and interpret it in a unique, sometimes abstract way. Get you thinking about what it is you’re looking at, trying to make sense out of those details, honor all the thought and work the architects put into every aspect of the building.
I also hate clutter and given the foreground was full of plastic fencing to protect the new landscaping it just messes up the shot in my opinion. If only I could control all environmental aspects when photographing these buildings! Did I mention I might be a bit of a control freak too.
segal visitors center, northwestern university, perkins+will, evanston, illinois Angie McMonigal Photography-1933-Edit Angie McMonigal Photography-1934-Edit Angie McMonigal Photography-1935-Edit Angie McMonigal Photography-1948-Edit Angie McMonigal Photography-1953-Edit Angie McMonigal Photography-2012-Edit Angie McMonigal Photography-2018-Edit Angie McMonigal Photography-2022-Edit
As you can see I mostly stuck with color for these but couldn’t resist a couple in black and white!
Angie McMonigal Photography-2012-Edit-Edit Angie McMonigal Photography-2022-Edit-Edit Angie McMonigal Photography-1933-Edit-Edit-2
 

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