Last Monday I got a chance to see Chicago in a different light, through the eyes of Lauri Novak. Lauri is a professional fine art photographer based just outside of Chicago. I discovered her through her writing at Photofocus but really came to “know” her from our interactions on Twitter. When I told her I would be in Chicago for a few days, she agreed to meet me for a morning photo walk. It was a thrill, and education in a different way of seeing.
I’ve never felt I had a very good eye for architecture. Those who do I admire. I have a couple of friends, Ines Hegedus-Garcia and Mike Simonsen to be specific, who have a very special eye for capturing buildings. Lauri Novak has that eye as well. Her work is in a few galleries in Chicago and frankly, she just sees things differently than I do. The photos above are typical of what I shoot when I’m walking in a city. I tend to look for depth. I look for layers. For me, it’s a different kind of landscape photography. Lauri tends to look for details and shapes. Take a moment to go look at this photo of Accenture tower that she posted on Twitter this morning. It’s a piece of art. It’s a study of light and contrast and geometry. I would never have seen that prior to our walk.
As we walked, I watched where she stopped (like above), how she approached her shots. I asked her what she was seeing and she patiently explained. She was using a lens I’ve been thinking about getting for some time, a Tamron 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3. I was using my Sony 24-240mm f3.5-6.3 and frankly, couldn’t get “close enough” to see some of what she was seeing. But what she was looking for and the way she explained it has altered the way I look at buildings, reflections, details.
I tried to capture my own perspective with the knowledge, but I’ve got a lot of shooting to do before I’ll be comfortable looking at a city, at a building, in this new way.
With a longer lens, I might have tried to capture the lines and reflections in these buildings differently, but this is already a shot I would never have taken prior to my walk with Lauri. It’s hard to describe the joy I feel the rest of my stay in Chicago. I have been to this section of Chicago more times than I can count, but I was experiencing it with new eyes. That is a gift I can never repay.
When you read this, Lauri, I hope you recognize and internalize how much our short walk together meant to this budding photographer. Photofocus certainly has chosen the right person to run their community. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your time and your kindness. It will never be forgotten. And… let’s do it again sometime. 🙂
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You made my eyes water, Jeff. Thank you so much. It truly means a lot to me to hear how I have helped you to see a little bit differently when you are out with your camera. The images in this post are stellar! It was so great to meet you and I look forward to heading out again sometime!