Friday, November 7, 2014

Chicago ink



The trains hummed us into Chicago and sang us into a trance while we traced its streets. It was too quick of a trip but one of necessity. My eyes were focused on the need to do and so, in squinting, the city's background bled into ink. The rain, the fog, the curving steel haze; all shining surfaces lit from within.

We missed our return train despite our best intentions, despite having arrived at what we thought was an hour ahead. Not wanting to simply wait, we decided to roam.

 I like Chicago, I always have. I remember my Mom's reassuring hand on my shoulder as I peered into the Thorne Miniature rooms at the Chicago Institute when I was about ten or so. And here she was at my side once more, her presence as loving as always. "Take the photo," she encouraged. I did so over and over, blinking back to stay present. To be with her and on my own, grateful for both. Then as now, our gazes eventually lifted upwards. It is that kind of town.

My bag was heavy and I shifted it from shoulder to shoulder. Walking on, we were stuck in the Loop. But the city's buoyant energy pushed back against the clouds, a mid-western expansiveness snaking between the buildings like the L above. We tucked into a coffee shop and from our perch behind a plate glass window watched the crowds. We exchanged gossipy guesses as to what each individual story might be, printed on the inside in that indigo blue. 

My Mom slowly flipped the pages of a magazine as the train rolled out of the station, through the tunnels pummeled with commuters until Chicago pulled away. I gazed out the window, tired but content, as the night fell to black. My heart echoed the wheels on the tracks...thump thump...bump bump...thump thump...bump bump...how wonderful it had been to be in a big city again.














I am going to mix in some of the stories that I photographed while in the States with my regular Provence-y business until my camera situation is worked out...I hope that you will stay with me...

And you still have time to enter in the giveaway for Ann Mah's wonderful book, "Mastering the Art of French Eating" - just leave a comment below or email me at robinsonheather (at ) yahoo.com to express your interest. Thank you for all of the wonderful responses so far! A winner will be announced next Tuesday.

Have a fantastic weekend...

35 comments:

Mardi Michels said...

Love this post Heather! I am actually headed to Chicago for the weekend this afternoon :)

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I really really want to visit Chicago within the next year or so!

Heather Robinson said...

Ooh! How do you like them apples? :) Have a great time...I have heard really good things about Dove's Luncheonette for a new eats spot...

Heather Robinson said...

Go Keith! It is so underrated...

Gillian Longworth McGuire said...

So transporting! I felt like I was there.

Jackie and Joel Smith said...

What a lovely contrast to your photos from Provence! Your photographer's eye finds the beauty no matter where your travels take you. Good luck with the camera! Hugs to you and happy weekend! Jackie

Judith Ross said...

These are amazing photos. Each one a work of art. And I especially love catching the reflection of you (et maman?) in the sixth from the bottom.

I have many fond and regretful memories of Chicago. I spent my freshman year at Northwestern and it was at the Art Institute where I saw my first Van Gogh. I remember getting lost in the brush strokes as I realized who had created them and when. I've been there a couple of times since for work and each time, there's a certain smell and feel that brings that year right back to me.

Marsha Splenderosa said...

Heather, I can see your photographs are just so much better, and the close-up and angular shots make me so happy. Some of this work looks like geometry and would make a perfect collection of framed pieces on someone's wall. And, Chicago? I LOVE that place!!! Keep doing what you're doing. It's so very interesting and evocative.
xx's

emilia tremante said...

I was deeply impressed the first time I visited the major U.S. cities. The sense of "huge" strongly hit me and I felt like an ant inside a too big world so different from mine. I stayed long enough but I could not get used to. Too many novelties all at once prevented me from understanding what was happening to me. Only back at home I was able to really appreciate that experience. It was like a journey towards another planet: I felt an E.T. (first letters of my name and surname) in the famous movie.
The sounds and rhytm of your text is so inviting Heather , I read it and read it and read it ...
Through your description and feelings I could appreciate my own experience once again.
I am following you in your stories they mean so much to me.

Have a nice weekend my dear.

simpleimages2 said...

The blueish colors and reflections of the beautiful Chicago. There is a feeling of power in the presence of very tall buildings.Very nice photos.

I love Chicago. I lived there for a year. Mrs. Abstract and I visited Chicago 3-4 times a year when we lived in Michigan.

Splendid Market said...

I love Chicago, great to see it though your eyes, similar shots, but a lot more metal! The Art Institute is one of my favorite stops.

Rowan said...

Hi Heather,
Love your new set of images! Very urban and geometrical and graphic. I like the way you style your photos with the off centre grouping of shapes. A different feel to the ones from Provence, but they have your touch nonetheless! Rhythmic wording, very nice partner to these images!
Cheers,
Deb C - Melbourne.

Loree said...

I absolutely adore Chicago. I 'be been twice but would go visit every time we fly to the US, if I could.

Coulda shoulda woulda said...

I would love to enter the giveaway as I keep meaning to get the book! Thanks Heather

Catherine Robinson said...

Fabulous photographs, Heather...I have never been to Chicago but I know I would love it...I'm a true City Lover!
Happy Weekend xx

robin said...

I agree with Rowan - I can feel your style even with a polar opposite subject matter! You captured it alright - maybe your feel for the big city hasn't left you (after all those years in NYC)! I don't know about you, but I'm waaaaaaay happier where I am now! But love these pics - love the last one and the view through the train window and all of the angles....lovely!

bill lisleman said...

We have lived near Chicago for many years now. Enjoy most every visit. Recently the Chicago Architecture Foundation did their annual Chicago Open House. A free and worthwhile event. I really like the texture of the water on the floor. You picture Chicago in a good way.

I Dream Of said...

Yes! That Heather point of view travels so well. I think I would know these were your photos if I saw them out of context, even though they aren't of the paths you usually take us down. And I love this look at Chicago. I've been in and out several times - but always on business for Nordstrom. So other than inside of malls and stores, hotels and a few restaurants I have yet to really experience the Windy City. Need to remedy that.

Thanks for taking us along on your wanderings. It's always a treat! XOXO

Silke Bauer said...

During the summer, my brother was in Chicago for a couple of weeks for business matters. He came back completely enthusiastic. "Those elegant, tall buildings and the jazzbars" It seems he did not get much sleep...

(Oh, by the way I also liked your Detroit Photos from some time ago a lot. )

Heather Robinson said...

Ooooh...I had a similar experience at the National Art Gallery in DC when I was little...I had just seen my first Monet and my Mom had to literally pull me away!! And yep, that is her next to me in the reflection...I like Dave Chihuly's work but that is why I chose that photo for sure. :)

Heather Robinson said...

Merci Marsha, I truly, truly appreciate (and need) the encouragement...Much Love to you!

Heather Robinson said...

Grazie ET! :) I am usually a very fast writer but I admit that I worked on the rhythm in this fairly short piece for hours. So for you to appreciate that makes it extra worthwhile.

And I find that the journeys the furthest outside of our comfort zone are the most memorable...

Heather Robinson said...

I often forget that you are a Michigander, Edgar. Such good people.

Heather Robinson said...

I was SO disappointed not to get there this time around...but as we only had two hours...it just wouldn't have been right.

Heather Robinson said...

Deb, I thought and thought about this comment and am really grateful for it! Thank you so much...

Heather Robinson said...

Entering you Naomi...

Heather Robinson said...

You would eat it up Catherine!

Heather Robinson said...

Merci belle Soeur...

Heather Robinson said...

Thank you, Bill - coming from a "local" that means a lot to me. And I would have been over the moon for that Open House. The architecture in Chicago is just such a feast...

Heather Robinson said...

That would definitely be more of a trip for you than your honey as it is all city...but the culture and the eats are some of the best in the US.
And thank you so very much your compliment! It was a very fine one, merci.
Bisous.

Heather Robinson said...

Merci Silke. I guess I like taking photos in cities too! The buildings in both places are just the right size with less of the "look at me!" of NYC...

George Snyder said...

Love Chicago. It is indeed a town where you find yourself looking up. And those Thorne Rooms - miniature heaven. Bises, G

Heather Robinson said...

I think that those rooms are the reason why I am so fascinated by interior design.

Michelle said...

Oh, thank you. I love how you captured your brief visit in Chicago through both your photos (it's always interesting to see how others choose to 'capture' city life), as well as with your descriptions and memories.

I thank you because although I've been living in southern Germany for 6 years and I love it here, I'm a Chicagoan -- no, not a suburbanite -- in spirit and soul, which I seem to realize when prompted by something like your photos. I finally sold my Chicago flat at Jackson/DesPlaines 1 year ago -- after calling it home for 20 years (and after living another 20 yrs in other Chgo parts). TOUGHEST decision of my life -- because I adore Chicago, including its awful winters and winds. That's part of its spirit: diversity.

So thank you, thank you -- for taking me 'home' for a few minutes today.

Heather Robinson said...

Michelle, your response made me so happy, thank you so much. I am so glad that this was able to take you home for a bit as I know all too well what it is to have our hearts split between two places (or several). It is part of the price we pay for being expats. But I really could see the pride that Chicagoans have and with reason as it the great underrated American city!

Happy Thanksgiving. :)