Belmont ‘L’ Station 1994

Belmont-Red-Line-Station-1994

©2013. Mike Priorie. All Rights Reserved.

One of the busiest ‘L’ stations in Chicago. The Red, Brown, and Purple lines all stop here. This IS the hub of Chicago’s North side. The station was rebuilt some years back to accommodate the large passenger loads and looks nothing like this picture. This view to the west has also changed. The spread of gentrification now reaches as far as Western Avenue. At this time, it was nearing Ashland, about a mile west. The liquor store on the corner is still there–with its bright neon sign, but sadly, Muskie’s is gone.

57th Street Mural 1994

57th-Street-Viaduct-Mural-1994

©2013. Mike Priorie. All Rights Reserved.

With a friend just hanging out, I ventured into Hyde Park one Saturday afternoon. After we got off the #6 Jeffrey Express bus from downtown, we started to walk west down 57th street. It was a pleasant September day, and I randomly clicked away. When we started walking underneath the Metra tracks, I came across this great mural. It was showing some age and some graffiti, but I was fascinated by how it looked. The dim lighting, the peeling paint, all seemed to inspire me. It was one part urban decay, one part nostalgia. It definitely told a story about the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s and how it impacted Hyde Park and Chicago itself. I saw it as a strong image– but I still didn’t see a connection yet. It was too early.

A New Project, 1994

me-bongo-room-1995

Flash forward one year; It was now the fall of 1994. I had completed two full semesters of Photography and my interest in the subject had only seemed to grow stronger. I had spent the summer photographing various things just to keep myself motivated. I was happy that I did not have to endure the technical assignments of the second semester class (Although I tell people today that those technical assignments actually helped you in the long run.) .

With entering the third semester course, I now had to pick a project to do. I realized at that point that I hadn’t really considered my options.  After self-loathing and debate, I chose to go out one weekend and shoot a “whatever” roll just as a crapshoot to see if I got anything.