Alleys & Ruins no. 142, Luv (2013, Chicago, IL, 10:00pm)

Alleys & Ruins no. 142, Luv (2013, Chicago, IL, 10:00pm)


Alley 142 was shot in the crumbling back end of a vacant industrial building in Chicago's turbulent Lawndale neighborhood. I’m shooting in the usual sketchy areas, and at one point we hear 5 rapid gunshots from a couple of blocks away.
The police arrive, after responding to a call, and cautiously, suspiciously look around at what we’re doing. Once they understand we’re just a bunch of innocents, idiotically hanging around in a bad place, they ask if we’ve heard or seen anything unusual. We tell them about the gunshots down the road and they jump in their cruiser and take off, thankfully letting us continue with the shot.

A PBS-TV crew had come along that night, interested in seeing how I prowl around dark dirty corners in search of ugly beauty. They were producing a segment for the program, In the Loop, a weekly public affairs show. The segment producer, Mario Tharpe, had come along with his camera crew. You can see the clip here.

As in all my work in the Alleys & Ruins series, I try to hide the harsh grittiness under a layer of fantasy with the use of my lighting, and since this was a 20-minute exposure, I had lots of time to work. As always, the photograph was taken with my trusted 50 year old Hasselblad film camera.

I rarely get to do a “before” shot, since I always show up at night. But since the TV crew wanted to get some clear footage of me and my old gear at work, we showed up just before sunset.



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Xavier Nuez

319 N. Albany Ave, Studio 1N5

Chicago, IL 60640


© Xavier Nuez, 2020