Sunday, May 28, 2006

Leaving Chicago

I am packing up, trying to put away 3 intense months of living in my bags, and the rubbish in the trash.

I am sure that the photographic insights will continue to come to me over time, but I have not spoken much about the impression of Chicago that I have. In spite of a relentless work schedule, I managed to squeeze in tourist excursions and cultural activities.

I have the impression that the people in Chicago are genuinely warm. People in Los Angeles are nice but I can only take them at face value. New York is edgy, but the people there are aggressive and have a bad case of bad attitude. For me at least, the people that you met in restaurants and on the street give you their attention. Given the weather that Chicago has, this is surprising. I would be cursing and swearing all day long in the cold.

Although Chicago is known for its architecture and sky scrapers, it is more amazing that such a huge city with many more parts that I could explore, had so many unpretentious people.

I guess that in a word, I would say that Chicago is laid back for a large city. The only really bad trait here is reckless drivers, but that seems to be endemic in large cities all over the world. A car is like a license to kill.

I would say that the easy going charm of Chicago is both a strength and weakness. Chicago is a large city with a small town heart. It has a lot to offer in terms of sites to see, facilities (the public transport is pretty good) and things to buy. But the fashion, the taste of the food, the visual advertising, all tend to be a bit on the bland side. I don't know, food in America can be on the bland side in general. However, the Chicago experience is pleasant but not intense.

With the amount of stickers and graffiti and murals on the walls, you cannot help but feel that Chicago is a city full of people trying to reach out to other people. I really cannot understand why there would be so many things out in public for everyone to see.

I guess that the pride and joy of Chicago is its architecture, featuring people like Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright and Meis Van Der Rohe. Everything from houses to gothic looking buildings to shiny sky scrapers. It is like that the streets of Chicago read like the history of modern architecture.

What I like about all this is that such an impressive achievement in building has happened to a city of people who I feel deserve it. You can see that I am obsessed by how nice they are.

As warm as the Chicago people are, the weather here is unpredictable and cold. I was wearing my thickest clothing just last week. And now in spring, I have to take anti-histamines daily as I get hay fever. I think that I could get a job working in Paul's studio, but honestly, just the weather is a real turn off for me.

Chicago, in short is a great city, but forgettable at times.


Jeanne said...

I've always been a fan of your photos since I got to know of your site when I first joined ASA.

I admit I haven't been visiting your site, but seeing it today, I realise that alot of your bridal photos have changed. Your photos of the parents and tea ceremony ones are gone. Maybe they were personal, but I loved them very much.

I told my boyfriend I wanted to have photos like that for our wedding but now he can't see it anymore...

Anyhos, love your style and admire your skill with the camera. Truly remarkable.

Hope to be able to work with you one day.


eadwine said...

oh we all get nice presents from there haahaahaa.

ur trip has been inspiring for all of us back home. im sure the knowledge u're bringing back will be more valuable than alot of other things.

Heng said...

Hi Jeanne,

Thanks for your comments. Like a lot of artists, I dream of growing. As much as I love shooting actual day weddings, I have outgrown it. My sights are on much larger projects. It takes up too much of my time to shoot actual day photography, and I feel that I have said all that I can with that genre, at least for now. Maybe one day I might do it again if I can find a new way of doing it and people can make it economically viable for me. I have a large staff to handle commercial work. Actual day photography in Singapore cannot sustain my office.

po po amd the little city boy said...

yo! yo! don't be a hater on home town Chicago. The homies might have to visit you personally. If you did not work so much at that studio, you could have checked out some of the amazing food here.

Don't dine with your back to the window..........