chicago in black and white

Geoff and I took so many cameras with us on our trip to Chicago in May that we wound up with about six or seven rolls of film to develop. Sometimes I take film in to be processed within the hour, but I also enjoy holding back on a roll or two and having them processed a few months later. We had loaded the Diana Mini with some Ilford HP5 film (which, come to think of it, was the first roll of black and white film I ever shot in my whole life, not having taken photography in school). I finally dropped the roll off a few weeks ago. They were ready in mid-August, and I was so happy with them -- they have a dreamy, timeless quality. I am aching to go back.

I was reminded today of the opening credits to the film I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, which also make me nostalgic for Chicago in black and white.

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Kate: Aw, I'm glad!

sarah:You're right! She is the fluffiest! 

Darcy: Thank you, Darcy! An oval pillow sounds nice to me -- it's so hard to know what the kitties will want. So far Pony hasn't really used her bed!

kenzie: Aw, that sounds really nice! And I'm glad you found milk glass bowls of your own. It's funny how the cats have nicer bowls than I have!

Celine: Thanks so much! You should try! It was so easy, and so satisfying to see it come together. As I said in the post, I felt so useful -- so enterprising! To think I made it with what I already had.  A good feeling.

Summer: Aw, sadly, I ran out of that fabric -- this piece was just an oddly-shaped left over bit. You're right about kids and boxes because so far Pony hasn't slept in her bed at all! She loves to sleep right on the floor, the silly kitten.

Meg: Yeah, we met Oreo when she was about 2 years old and we always talk about how we wish we had known her when she was just a baby! We always wonder about "mini Oreo." Now we have a mini cat and it's pretty cute to see -- although there is something to be said for the more laid-back attitudes of grown-up cats! 

Jess: I'm glad you like them! The placemats seem to help a little bit (easy to clean, anyhow) since Pony is such a messy eater. Turns out Pony is picky too since she hardly has used her new bed! I tried the catnip trick, thanks for the tip!

Juli: Haha! It's true! It's hard to get a kitten to hold still while I try to focus!

Lexie, Little Boat: Thanks so much!

Victoire: I don't think she sees it that way! She hasn't used her bed much at all.

Miss Launderette: Oh, I would consider it if it were my own pattern! And the bed is quite large, I can only imagine the shipping cost!

Megan: Wish you could come over and meet her! I guess it would make you sneeze too much, though.

Jennifer: Hehe, she is so adorable, I agree!

t a n y a: Thanks so much!

Neon Relish: Thank you! Oh, I found a copy of Billy C.'s book! I can't wait to read it.  Slowly.

jen: I love milk glass too -- it's so pretty. Luckily it seems to be easy enough to find in thrift stores! I wish I had bowls as nice as the cats! Our cats seem to be a little immune to the lure of catnip. I don't get it!

Mia: Oh! I think you're right! It's those sad eyes!

Oh....you.: Haha, oh cats. So funny.

etre-soi: Thank you! Cats can be so sweet, I agree. Luckily my two cats seem to be getting along a little better now!

Alison: Thank you! I don't think she loves it that much, though! Haha.

Hello Lindello: Thanks so much! She is such a fluffball, I just love her to bits.

"hi, i'm ginnybranch stelling and i love love.": I'm so glad you like it! I wish I could -- if it were my own pattern, I'd consider it! 

Ella: Aw, as a cat-lover, that makes me happy!

megan: She is!

vanessa joie: Yeah, I know! I found some cute beds for less but they had really annoying details, like a big paw-print applique and whatnot. Annoying! Even the Martha Stewart ones for dogs are a bit cheesy to me. Haha, I guess I'm picky (like a cat)!

Sarah: Yes, for sure! They are so picky!

Stephanie: Thanks! I'm glad I made the bed, but she doesn't use it much! She loves the floor, and yesterday we found her buried in a little pocket she'd made for herself in the duvet. Very cute.

Carmen: She is so cute, I agree!

Anonymous: I took an introductory sewing course at a sewing studio near where I lived, and then I taught myself out of books and by practicing quite a lot.  I took an industrial sewing course last summer at a local community college, and I learned some techniques that way as well. But definitely practice has been the best way to learn! I'm still learning, of course, but on my own.

Katie: Aw, she does love to look at herself in the mirror!

julia: She is!

Michelle: Thank you! Yeah, the fabrics always look really... flammable to me! Just synthetic beyond belief.


  1. The top photo is truly epic. My favourite B&W film is Fuji Neopan, though it can be hard to track down. I have a few rolls to develop myself!

  2. Anonymous30.8.10

    Sometimes I love delayed gratification with film. I have a handful of rolls in a drawer and I've completely forgotten what's on them! I love these photos; they have an old-timey feel to them. I'm looking forward to visiting Chicago (and Philadelphia, New York, Boston, etc) now that I live in much closer proximity to such great older cities.

  3. I *love* these pictures - between the black-and-white and the fact that you shot them just right, it's like seeing the city in a whole new (perfectly old!) light. I'm also glad that you got to see Central Camera's neon sign - it's one of my favorites! PS: I hope you like ol' Billy's book!

  4. Love the quality of the photos~ and they also make me nostalgic for Chicago!

  5. that's the thing i love about using film, you DON"T get the instant gratification of digital. it makes each photo seem like a really hazy, distant memory. and i LOVE these chicago photos, really tugging on my heartstrings.

  6. Whoa! These look so good. I've used b&w film a couple times in class but I was pretty much a failure in the dark room. Only one of my photos came out!

  7. beautiful photos. and i'm a huge wilco fan so this makes me nostalgic for chicago too!

  8. incredibly lovely.

  9. dreamy photos! you've got an eye for great angles. :)

  10. omg, I would totally cross the great divide and suffer the cat allergens just to meet her! don't you doubt it, Anabela, don't you doubt it...

    sorry I have nothing of significance to say about this post, as is usually the case...other than they look like they're from another era, from the war or something...

  11. aren't skyscrapers the best. great photos. i work downtown in my city and i love photographing the skyline on my lunch breaks. :-)

  12. these are wonderful. i'm inspired.

  13. aw this turned out so beautiful!