Every Summer, Chicagoans and visitors have been fortunate to enjoy a unique
photo exhibit thanks to the efforts of Lois Weisberg and the Chicago Office of
Cultural Affairs. This year may be the best yet with the debut this week of
Revealin Chicago: An Aerial Portrait by Terry Evan. Visit the web site at www.revealingchicago.org which
allows you to see the 100 photos in context on a virtual map and then go to
Millennium Park to see the oversize 32 by 32 photos.

You can combine a visit to Taste of Chicago on Saturday, June 25th for our
Giant 25th Birthday Cake with a walk over to the nearby Millennium Park and this
exhibit.

http://www.revealingchicago.org/

Aerial photos paint glorious portraits of
Chicago area

June 10, 2005

BY MISHA
DAVENPORT

MuseumPieces

Prepare
to get up close and intimate with “Revealing Chicago,” the photography exhibit
being unveiled today in the central Central Chase Promenade and South Boeing
Gallery in Millennium
Park.

The photographer, Terry Evans, wouldn’t have it any other way.

“That’s exactly what I hope happens,” Evans says excitedly after a visitor to
the Ravenswood Studio, where her pictures were mounted and framed prior to being
installed in the park, stopped to peer at an oversize, 32-by-32-inch photo
showing downtown Chicago. “People get really involved at looking at my pictures,
trying to see all kinds of details and moving in close to pick out places they
know. As a photographer, I couldn’t be happier.”

Evans shot aerial photos of the city and surrounding areas for a year and a
half in 2003 and 2004. The exhibit features 100 of the images.

Evans, a Chicagoresident, began
taking aerial portraits in 1989. After shooting a series of works documenting
the ecosystem on land in Kansas,
she began to wonder if things would look the same from high above as they did up
close on the ground.

Though 90 percent of the photos were taken while riding high above the city
in helicopters, Evans’ preferred mode of travel is in a hot air balloon.

“You’re able to get a lot closer to the ground and you end up capturing more
detail,” Evans says.

She admits flying that way isn’t for everybody, though.

“The bad thing with hot air balloons is — even with a great pilot, and I had
a great pilot — every landing is essentially a crash landing. It can be
nerve-racking.”

It was on one such balloon ride in March 2003 that Evans had what artists
call “the happy accident,” when a mishap yields beautiful results. In her case,
it was the wind.

“The other thing about balloon flights is you can’t really control the
direction and we floated over the suburbs,” Evans says. “I had no intention of
shooting the suburbs, but the shots were amazing.”

While some of the exhibit is the result of happy accidents like her suburban
shots, that’s not the case for development in the region, says Charles Wheelan,
Chicago-based radio personality and lecturer in public policy at the
University of
Chicago. He wrote the essays and
introduction for the accompanying book for the exhibit as well as the text
featured in “Revealing Chicago.”

“The Chicagoarea didn’t happen
by by accident,” Wheelan says. “For me, one of the most important themes of the
show is that people made conscious decisions in the past to create what we have
here now. At the time they built the I & M canal, most people though
Milwaukee or
St. Louis would be the capital of
the Midwest, not
Chicago.”

Wheelan says the seamlessness of the area is readily captured in Evans’
photos. She agrees.

“I’m moved by the inner connectedness of the city and the region. High above
the city, you realize how close everything is, how beautifully diverse and yet
connected we all are.”

Even though the area might be connected, that doesn’t mean it was easy to
shoot. The Windy
City proved, well, too windy for
Evans to travel over by balloon. And even when
Chicago’s air speed was cooperating
with her, one site that proved most difficult to shoot was the Magic Hedge at
Montrose Point in Chicago. Located
near the city’s North Side, Montrose Point was a man-made peninsula built at the
height of the Cold War to hide a Nike missile installation. While the threat of
a Soviet strike is over and the installation was closed in 1970, it has now
become a bit of a bird sanctuary, attracting hundreds of species in a single
day.

“For some reason, that shot was particularly hard,” Evans says. “Of course,
there’s a story and history to the space, but it was really hard to see from the
sky just what part of the harbor is the Magic Hedge.”

While she admits she has 10-15 favorites, she declines when asked to select
one image that best captures the life in the region.

“The city is so rich. No one picture could ever attempt to capture all of
it,” Evans says. “There’s so much beauty here, I don’t think even my 100
pictures begin to scratch the surface.”

 

‘REVEALING
CHICAGO: AN AERIAL
PORTRAIT’

· 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.daily, through
Oct. 10

· Central Chase Promenade and South Boeing Gallery in
Millennium Park,
Michigan at
Randolph

· Free

· (312) 742-1168; www.millenniumpark.org