life . Portrait . street

Madison, WI


Fontana Giusti

Three days with my dad // Chicago, May 2024

Traveling light is no longer my strong suit. 

I used to be great at it, but shooting film turned me into a gearhead, and now I’m that maniac who travels with three cameras and the film and accessories that go with it. This time I chose a polaroid (unusual choice, rather cumbersome, but fun), my beloved Kodak Retina IIIc (hard to use but great in the street), preloaded with Tri-x that expired in 1982 and I cannot remember where I got, and the Holga 135 that I’d just won on the Daily Holga Winter games, loaded with Fuji Superia Xtra400.

Every time go to Chicago, I end up seeing the same sights, but they’re just so great, I cannot help it. And truly Chicago is a joy to photograph. 

But first things, first, let me get this out of the way, for me, Chicago is these – trust me, I’m obsessed, I never resist a shot at them:

oooold TriX // Retina camera

Fuji S400 // Holga 135

Ilford HP5+ // Retina camera

Candid moments of quiet, in stunning light situations, 1 at the Contemporary Art Museum 2 & 3 the at Art Institute and 4 on the shore of lake Michigan:

Sunset from Navy Pier, facing north, one view three ways:

In the past, I would have been embrassed to admit it, but not anymore, because I really love it when I’m in town: I convinced my dad to hop on the Chicago river architecture tour. I also must let you know I had my motives. My experience is that this is a great place to watch people, because on boats people are chill, but also because everyone is taking pictures, so nobody really notices if a lens is casually aimed at them, at least that’s what I’m telling myself, but some of the people I photographed here clearly knew what I was up to:

On the boat, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to refrain from cliché shots I wouldn’t be that interested in afterwards, for the Holga roll, I attempted to expose both sides of the film from frame 20 on, but I hadn’t packed a dark bag, so I did it at home, and changed camera for the redscale exposure, but it’s barely there, I think my camera meter was confused by something, anyways, this is why some of these images have barely-there hints of red.

And some unavoidable clichés (click to enlarge), but as I stated in the past, I have no shame for indulging in the cliché 🙂

The Bean (aka Cloud Gate, but also, for Italians “il gnocco”), was closed because they were repaving the esplanade, which was a bummer, but I still made the most of the situation:

Something I found out, was how much I’m loving Ilford HP5+. I used to think I only liked it pushed pushed pushed to its limits, and I really do love HP5+ as a low light film, but here I decided to rate and develop it at box speed, and I don’t know why I didn’t love it in the past, it’s absolutely stunning. 

I did change how I developed it , I usually used D76 at the 1:1 dilution, but yesterday decided I had no patience for that, and used d76 undiluted. Also, my current d76 batch is yellow, which I’m fairly certain is something I hadn’t seen before (it doesn’t affect results so I don’t care), so maybe dilution makes a difference, or maybe they tweaked the formula? 

Maybe it shines when the sun’s high and the shadows are stark?

In any case, it’s glorious, and you can expect more HP5+ for my street work in the future.

see for yourselves:

By now you know I’m all about people and gestures, so here’s a bunch more, I truly enjoyed taking them, and I hope you see the beautiful moments too:

Riding the L, headed to the airport to drop my dad off

That’s all folks, but before we part ways, here’s a few of my dad touristing big time, because Chicago really is “it”:

I warned you I’m obsessed with those corn cob towers, didn’t I?

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