One thing has become very apparent to me since I started photographing Chicago alleys: in residential neighborhoods, most of the really interesting stuff takes place in private areas. This means I will have to a more active approach to accessing these spaces than I was hoping to. At first I thought that as long as I have to get access, maybe the thing to do would be to show the alley actually being used – so far the pictures have been about the material makeup of the place, with the social dimension represented only through inanimate objects. However, in the end that would have become a very work-intensive digression from the architectural aspect of the project, which was my ambition for it from the beginning, and still is. So for now I have decided to keep things simple and on track, by concentrating on the built environment of the alley zone, even as I get deeper into it.
Another, which is kind of a ‘duh’ moment for a photographer, is that the light quality matters more than I previously thought. On the one hand, in photographing at dawn and dusk, I got a flatter light quality that allowed me to concentrate on the objects themselves instead of the light play on them. However, the photographs themselves become flat and less engaging than ones shot during the day under typical lighting conditions. I still haven’t resolved this issue, though now I’m leaning towards dealing with the photography on its own merits and then approaching the objective qualities of the environment through analytic drawings.