A Random Five

Yep, I save everything. Several boxes at my studio are filled with stacks of darkroom-generated prints – not the finals that would have been sent to the client, but outtakes that probably stopped short of my best attempt at the enlarger, or were a shot at a different kind of paper or chemistry. Sifting through them is the functional equivalent of hitting ‘shuffle’ in iTunes: the pictures are in no particular order, and so I never know what’s next. Some of these go way, way back.

I pulled five that, today at least, raised my eyebrows:

Pinhole photograph, Tamms Supermaximum Security Prison, Tamms Illinois. Shortly after the prison was opened, I had the opportunity to photograph the place for Chicago magazine. I’d heard the warden was especially proud of the cell doors, which featured holes, rather than bars. I shot this one with a homemade camera pressed against one of those doors, holding it for about fifteen seconds.

David Yow, lead singer for The Jesus Lizard, in a mosh pit at Chicago’s Vic Theater. I love grain.

Selmer Saxophone, Elkhart Indiana. I believe the lit box is how they put the music in ’em.

I spent some time in Ukraine – Kiev and Yalta – on an assignment to photograph Katherine Yushchenko, their first lady at the time. This was on the bumpy flight to Yalta, after my film was sent through a 1960’s era x-ray machine. It ended well.

Sophia Loren, leaving a screening, Michigan Avenue, Chicago. In the early 1990s I was the Chicago International Film Festival’s official photographer. The fun never set.

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