I finally made it to the only remaining building from Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair, The Museum of Science and Industry (MSI). Well, I’ve been here many times but not with the intent to photograph it for the White City series.
During the World’s Fair the MSI was the Palace of Fine Arts. The backside of the building was actually the entrance, which makes complete sense with the Jackson Park Lagoon right outside its doorstep. A much more beautiful view of the building than its current entrance, if you ask me.
Clearly, if I’m going to do a series inspired by Erik Larson’s novel, The Devil In The White City, which centers around the architecture and design of the 1893 World’s Fair as well as one of the country’s first known serial killers, I need to include this building. Below are a number of images I’m still mulling over, trying to decide which to include. You’ll see a few have titles, but it’s all still a work in progress.
This last image is of the Statue of the Republic, which seems to have a couple of nicknames: “Big Mary” and “Golden Lady”. Today’s replica stands at 24 feet on the site of the World’s Fair Administration Building in Jackson Park. It’s a third the size of the original, which burned down about 3 years after the fair. The replica was made in honor of the fair’s 25 year anniversary. How impressive it would have been to see the original!
To see more work from the series you can check out the portfolio here. More images are here but many won’t make the final cut.
For more info about this series, here’s the project statement:
Inspired by Erik Larson’s novel The Devil In The White City, The White City series brings attention to beauty that resides in urban environments – such as architecture and urban landscaping – while honoring the darker undertones that linger in the underbellies of today’s modern cities. Beginning with the1893 World’s Fair, which is the focal point of Larson’s novel, the perception of urban environments began to shift and Daniel Burnham, the mastermind behind the design of the World’s Fair, spearheaded that shift, transforming Chicago from its industrial roots into an exquisite haven of beauty. Although most of the buildings that were part of the 1893 World’s Fair are long gone, Burnham’s influence on design and urban beautification is still evident in Chicago’s urban landscape today – an architectural marvel that is showcased in The White City series. To honor Larson’s bestselling historic novel, each image in the series is titled with a quote from the book.