Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Street Language

Chicago is such a dynamic city and it is changing so quickly it's hard to keep up. When I moved back here in 2007 it seemed like many areas were knocked down and rebuilt in only 3 or 4 short years. With the rebuilding a lot of smaller businesses and local flavor seemed to disappear overnight. 

I really enjoyed the older areas that were a little behind the times and a little more distressed. Vandals left their marks on property and many business owners never upgraded their storefronts. This combination gave off a raw, unique atmosphere at street level that you couldn't find out in the suburbs. A lot of that is gone now.

The rebuilding has brought a certain sterility, security cameras to deter vandals, less independent business owners and a predictable sameness from corner to corner. Not all of this is a bad thing but it has erased a lot of the rawness that I thought defined parts of Chicago.

The image to the right is the first in a new image experiment to capture some of the street graphics and signage that are still surviving on the older building surfaces, street posts and stuck on steel beams. I'm also trying to document the remaining older independent signage around the city before it's erased.