Chicago: Lake (2009)

Paula Chamlee

In 2008, Michael and I were invited by Bob Wislow, Chairman and CEO of U.S. Equities Realty to photograph in Chicago. Bob is a great art and photography collector and patron, and he commissions an artist to do a book each year that becomes the company's annual holiday gift for friends and clients. He had previously collected our photographs, and in 2006, suggested that we do a book for the 2008 holiday season. But there were two of us! How to do such a book? Michael would photograph the buildings in the Loop, and I would photograph along the 26 miles of public shoreline on Lake Michigan between the city limits. Bob's marketing staff came up with a wonderful design—it could be two books in one, a "flip" book, where both sides are front covers and the ending colophons are in the middle.

We photographed a few weeks in the spring and again in the fall of 2008, and it all went by too quickly, as one could spend a lifetime seeing and photographing something new every day. We each wrote a Preface, and for my half of the book, I had to produce lots of work. The book needed to be 8.5"x17" to accommodate Michael's long 8x20-inch pictures, so I had to fill those long pages with more than single 8x10s. Since I am also a painter, Michael had long urged me to make drawings to combine with my photographs. This was the perfect opportunity to do that, and I ended up making collages, assemblages, and spontaneous writings to combine with the photographs and drawings. My half of the book is made up of these various combinations that are sequenced as diptychs, triptychs, and quartets.


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