The Chicago “L”

I made my first visit to the Windy City back in July. My wife and sons have already spent time here before so this was unchartered territory for me. We were staying with family in one of the suburbs of Chicago and rode the Metra into the city the several days we were there. We navigated the city by either walking or riding the subway which is affectionately knows as the “L”. Riding the “L” opened up a whole new perspective on photography for me. I instantly fell in love with the intricate infrastructure cramped between towering buildings, parking garages and everyday life below. The photographic possibilities are endless and all you need is time.

Prior to my arrival in Chicago I had done absolutely no research on this gem so I was totally in the dark as to the “Prime” locations in which to photograph. The day I made the most of my images started off bright and sunny with weather conditions crumbling like an old building as the day progressed. I believe I have created several images that convey mood, as most of these were grab shots. I particularly like the ones where I was shooting out the front window as we rode the “L”. I shot color slide film but really liked them even more converted to black & white.

The other day I had mentioned to my wife how we need to return so I can spend a good 3-4 days photographing the “L” now that I have done my research.

Cheers!

Waiting at the interlocking of Lake 7 Wells on the Chicago "L" July 15th 2016. Lighting conditions were horrid and I was down to 1/60th @ F2.8, but I love the mood of this image. Agfa CT Precisa Slide Film, © Joe Geronimo
Waiting at the interlocking of Lake & Wells on the Chicago “L” July 15th 2016. Lighting conditions were horrid and I was down to 1/60th @ F2.8, but I love the mood of this image. Agfa CT Precisa Slide Film, © Joe Geronimo
The Chicago "L" July 15th 2016. Agfa CT Precisa Slide Film, © Joe Geronimo.
The Chicago “L” July 15th 2016. Agfa CT Precisa Slide Film, © Joe Geronimo.
The Chicago "L" July 15th 2016. You can notice walking ahead is Julie, Michael & Max. Agfa CT Precisa Slide Film, © Joe Geronimo
The Chicago “L” July 15th 2016. You can notice walking ahead is Julie, Michael & Max. Agfa CT Precisa Slide Film, © Joe Geronimo

 

The Chicago "L" July 15th 2016. Agfa CT Precisa 100 Slide Film, © Joe Geronimo
The Chicago “L” July 15th 2016. Agfa CT Precisa 100 Slide Film, © Joe Geronimo
The Chicago "L" at Lake & Wells July 15th 2016. Agfa CT Precisa 100 Slide Film, © Joe Geronimo. I would later discover that this is one of the most photographed sections due to its intricate design and track work here. I recently bid on a 1982 Kodachrome form this location and lost as it sold for $41.00.
The Chicago “L” at Lake & Wells July 15th 2016. Agfa CT Precisa 100 Slide Film, © Joe Geronimo. I would later discover that this is one of the most photographed sections due to its intricate design and track work here. I recently bid on a 1982 Kodachrome from this location and lost as it sold for $41.00.
Adams & Wabash station Chicago "L" July 15th 2016. Agfa CT Precisa Slide Film, © Joe Geronimo
Adams & Wabash station Chicago “L” July 15th 2016. Agfa CT Precisa Slide Film, © Joe Geronimo

 

The Chicago "L" July 15th 2016. Agfa CT Precisa 100 Slide Film, © Joe Geronimo
The Chicago “L” July 15th 2016. Agfa CT Precisa 100 Slide Film, © Joe Geronimo

Here you’ll find a link to an image from Lake & Wells on the Chicago “L”. It was photographed from either a parking garage or rooftop. However it gives you the perspective of its complexity. I love it! https://flic.kr/p/rUyXih

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Life in Boxes:

I began shooting slide film around 1990 but most of the images I made at this point were mostly captured on print film, something I regret. I didn’t really begin to convert solely to slide film until early 1992 and have been shooting it ever since. I’ll admit that in 2005 I was intrigued by the digital camera and purchased my first DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera. I enjoyed it and made some great images with it as well. I loved the instant gratification of viewing the picture immediately. I also liked the fact that outside the camera and flash card there was no additional cost of film purchase and processing. I vowed to never shoot another roll of film again.

That vow would only last about 6 months before I found myself lacking in something I craved the most. A tangible asset. I would go on to own more DSLR camera bodies as well as film bodies. I spent several years arguing the film vs. digital argument only to realize that it all boils down to preference and what your goals are. There is room in my camera bag for both film and digital.

Our world moves at the speed of now and that is why I carry a DSLR with me most of the time. News happens at a moments notice!

A passion of mine is to preserve history and I choose to do my preservation through photography. No matter the subject matter or the camera you use every click of the shutter captures a moment in time, a piece of our history and for me that is most important. Over the past 24 years I have been documenting my career mostly on film but I do have several hundred images made with a digital camera. I have also been documenting our family as well which is 90% slide film and 10% digital. Without an actual physical count I’d have to estimate my family slide collection hovers somewhere near 8,000 images of which only half have been filed. I just received another 216 slides the other day from the holidays.

Another reason I still shoot slide film is because of monetary value. Collectors want originals. I’ve sold older slides from my collection on Ebay for some serious amounts of money. As a matter of fact I know people who do it for a living. They buy slide collections and break them up. This is both sad and fascinating as well. I’ve slowly been acquiring slides that I hope to flip in the near future but only time will tell.

Since Kodak has exited the slide film market entirely there are only several choices left in which to buy it. Agfa Photo has recently restarted its slide film business and I’m glad because I love the stuff compared to Fuji’s. Its comes done to personal choice. Also Kodak does not process film anymore and most film (Print) is either processed in house at local photo labs or stores like Walmart or CVS. Slide film processing is only done at a handful of locations around the United States with the most popular being Dwayne’s Photo in Parsons, Kansas.

Although those yellow Kodak boxes of joy that came in the mail are no longer I still get excited for those Red, White & Blue boxes from Dwayne’s!

Cheers!!!!!!

Twas the night before Christmas. Agfa CT Precisa 100, ©Joe Geronimo 2015.
Twas the night before Christmas. Agfa CT Precisa 100, ©Joe Geronimo 2015.
Agfa CT Precis 100 Slide Film.
Agfa CT Precis 100 Slide Film.
I just received 6 boxes of slides from Dwayne's Photo shot over the Christmas holiday. ©Joe Geronimo
I just received 6 boxes of slides from Dwayne’s Photo I shot over the Christmas holiday. ©Joe Geronimo