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663 E Groveland Park, Chicago, IL, 60616

Groveland Park was built in 1885, one block north of the Stephen Douglas tomb, which was completed in 1881. Only two decades earlier, the land had been used to house confederate prisoners of war at Camp Douglas, which had problems with disease and pestilence resulting from inadequate plumbing. George Levy’s book about this era is excellent: To Die in Chicago: Confederate Prisoners at Camp Douglas 1862–1865.

From Explore Chicago: This cul-de-sac of historic townhouses and private park constitute the last remaining portion of the original Douglas neighborhood, named after Stephen A. Douglas.
33rd St. & Cottage Grove Ave.
Chicago, IL 60616

Shelby Lee Adams

Click here for photo: Leddie with Children (1990) Shelby Lee Adams

Why did this image hit me so hard when I saw it in person at Catherine Edelman gallery? The skin on these children’s faces is so silver. Their faces look so similar, could it be one kid running around on multiple exposures? Not with such an authentic photographer as Shelby Lee Adams. So what about those awkward limbs, those crazy angles, those delicate eyebrows on matching gazes. What a brood this woman has! And the second light source coming from the lower left puts the sun on the trees out of balance, giving the whole image the kind of southern gothic surreal overlay I’ve read in Carson McCullers, Flannery O’Connor, and Thomas Wolfe. The technical craftsmanship in all the prints in this show is a real thing of beauty, and in many images, the skin of the subjects’ face is just a great platform to show off that skill. But in this image, some other-worldly and chthonic is also going on. I love it.

Gaza Pastoral

Three of Richard Mosse’s films were part of the Theatre of War program put on by the Spektral Quartet in Chicago last week, but the first one, Gaza Pastoral (Cast lead), hit me wordlessly. I know in a blog I should put words to the things I love, but this one is a challenge. I saw lambs in a trucks warehouse on a nighttime walk near the Stockyards last week, which is probably why this film resonated so strongly with me.

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