Thursday, September 27, 2007

On the Pavement: September Light

posted by chicago pop

It's been a restful week, thanks mostly to the Herald's recent shift from propaganda to quasi-journalism over the last week or so. Since it probably won't last long, we're taking advantage of the respite. The downside for readers, however, is a week or two without such regular features as NIMBY's Corner. Yes, it's hard. Which isn't to say there wasn't a little something crazy about the op-ed letters this time around. It's just that there was nothing particularly NIMBY-ish about them, and we therefore decided to leave them alone.

So I thought I would take the opportunity to offer up some visual meditations of late September sunlight in my neck of the woods. Sights and shadows and contrasts that have stopped me in my tracks on afternoon dogwalks, and challenged me to capture them as best I could.

With all due respect to the spirit of Daniel Burnham, Paris is the last thing I think of when I see these things, by day or by night. It's Berlin about 1925 that comes to mind, as captured in the woodcuts of Franz Masereel's Die Stadt. It was the Germans, after all, who just about this time were coming up with the blueprints for the buildings that would eventually be built in Chicago, and define modern architecture.

Of course the Germans had mixed feelings about Metropolis, and so do we. But on a clear autumn night, as these man-made cliffs light up from the inside like so many magic lanterns stacked one on top of the other, it's hard not to be impressed that anyone ever thought to build a building that high.

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