I snapped in Chicago.

     First, I’d like to explain how unreachable the idea of photographing people can be to quite a few folks. It’s not that problematic as distractions are a stones throw away in any part of the world but, the conversation can be awkward when you casually say ” I’m shooting people!” It’s hard to include friends and family on a trip where your main goal is to avoid landmarks and shopping centers (unless a protest or some really awarding characters lurk in said places *points to Washington D.C). To engage in leisure activity is not the goal of an urban documentarian. We’re here to shoot people :)

     Im not that new to Chicago. I’ve got family and friends both native and transplant, and my most recent trip involved a Prefuse 73 concert but I haven’t seen Chicago. At 4 hours away from the much slower Toledo, Ohio, I have to have serious intent surrounding a visit and a friend provided the perfect opportunity to do so. 

     The city and I officially met after an exchange of words with the projected weather forecast and how it really felt the morning of Friday October 21, 2017: Hot. Not damning but enough to claim my confidence after a few blocks in a track jacket, flannel and cap because the forcast said 50 degrees @ 9 am with a high of 77 coming in around 6! Weather bashing aside, the first roll I shot wasn’t the greatest. My nerves needed a moment to adjust to what I was accomplishing and that was a full day of shooting on the street. 

I had not done so before. 


     It was a concept that remained a dream after controlling my output in my own city. Our population is a fraction of Chicago’s and I’m more recognizable than I want to be. The exposure makes it painful to be candid. Follow me?

     The idea of distraction plays a strong part in the role of candidacy. I, and others look for your occupied minds like scientist studying the reaction of chemical x among the populace. We want your life fastened to silver halide and capable of applause if the negative is good. 

     Chicago allowed us to document their distraction. About 10 rolls worth of Ilford Hp5 between a pair of Rolleiflex model E’s . While the work here is all mine, my traveling partner Katie will eventually share her work via Medium. A minor deviation: Props to her and her brother Will for making space for me. This trip came at the right time and I enjoyed every second. 

     I won’t go into much about my Chicago experience as those stories are best shared in person but I will say that I’ve never met a more welcoming city. The number of folks I encountered left a mark so noticeable that residency crosses my mind an entire week after the date.  

     For those interested in my recipe for processing I developed with mostly Kodak products. Kodak Hc-110, Stop-bath, and Kodafix handled the initial process while Ilford Wash-aid and Kodak Photoflo finalized the process. 

  • My recipe for development is: 1 minute initial agitation w/ 10 second agitation every 2 minutes. These photos were pushed a bit over box speed. Massive Dev recommended 5 minutes and I set my clock for 6 minutes in the developer. I enjoy the look.

Copyright © James Dickerson 
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