YashicaMat, 22 March 2011


As I’ve mentioned previously, Chicago has quite a number of Art Deco buildings, and while they’re not as flashy as the most famous NYC examples, [1] I do think the former are also a little underrated, as well. Or maybe I just have a fixation with the style. Or both…I’m not discounting any possibilities here!

YashicaMat CHI Acros100 01&33N-LaSalle01B

Location: Chicago, Illinois; Chicago Loop
Camera: YashicaMat EM
Lens: Yashica Yashinon 80mm f/3.5
Film: Fuji Neopan Acros 100 [2]

The building on the left is the Foreman State National Bank Building at 33 North LaSalle (the corner of southeast corner of LaSalle & Washington); it was completed in 1930, and designed by Graham, Anderson, Probst, & White. Evident in the design of the building are the ubiquitous vertical rows of recessed windows with intervening decorative panels, and the obvious setbacks as the building’s volume progresses upwards. The building on the right is 1 North LaSalle (at the northeast corner of LaSalle & Madison); [3] it was also completed in 1930, and designed by Vitzthum & Burns. It shares a strong vertical emphasis with its neighbor, though the setbacks are a bit less dramatic.

Oh sure, they’re not all that flashy, but then again, the 1930s weren’t exactly “fat” years, and while I have an affinity for Modernist design, I will freely admit that buildings such as these are far more interesting than the majority of the nondescript metal and glass boxes out there…and the less said about the debacle that is Postmodernism, the better.



[1]: The Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building are both internationally renowned, though one of my favorites is a lesser-known beauty, the American Radiator Building. Don’t know about that one? For shame. Learn.

[2]: Yes, you may be noticing a pattern here…I happen to love Fuji’s Neopan Acros 100 film. It’s beautiful stuff. For years, my standard film was Kodak’s TMax 100 (which is no slouch, either), but these days, when I can get my hands on it, I do prefer the Fuji. One thing I’ll grant the TMax, though…it has a slightly more robust acetate backing, which makes it handle easier when scanning, but that’s a minor issue.

[3]: I may have mentioned this before, but in case I haven’t, whenever I reference streets and intersections, the first street name will refer to the north-south street, while the second will be the east-west street. Since the vast majority of Chicago is laid out on a rigid rectilinear street grid, this should help those of y’all who have never been here get your bearings, in case you’re looking for these locations on Google Earth, or something like that. See how nice I am?


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