Scènes à faire
Someone once asked me if I ever get tired of photographing around downtown Chicago. “Never,” I quickly responded. Chicago, or any large city for that matter, is like going to a theater showing a different production every night: it is the same stage but with different actors and plots. I never get bored walking around this great city as there is never a rerun.
Although my recent northern expeditions allowed me to stretch my legs a bit and explore unfamiliar land (see “The road to Kenowhere” and “North by northeast and west”), I still found myself heading out downtown whenever possible in the past few weeks. I had to see which productions were playing on the familiar stage made up by the streets of the Loop and Mag Mile. Despite the uniqueness and randomness of life in progress, that no one moment in life can repeat exactly, I oddly found myself running into common themes. Perhaps these supposed one-time productions were running into the same problem plaguing Hollywood movies, that of lacking originality. Or maybe some Chicago characters have just become so common as to become scènes à faire and therefore stock to the plot. Included are:
The bearded hipsters.
The petitioners and flier passers ambushing people on the sidewalks.
The people curious at the latest pieces of art.
The high-fiving sport fanatics. (On a side note, while out photographing soccer fans watching the USA v. Portugal World Cup game on a large screen in Grant Park this past Sunday, I probably high-fived more people than Borat.)
But to paraphrase the John Hughes film “The Breakfast Club,” (back when movies were original and actually good), we see others as we want to see them, “in the most convenient definitions.” If that is the case, instead of seeing tourists and petitioners, I should start seeing the actors on this grand asphalt stage simply as distinct and indispensable individuals of one of the greatest cities on Earth. With such interesting and diverse characters and plots, then, there will never be a rerun.
All images @ K. Dao Photography 2014, all rights reserved.