My recent trip to the Midwest allowed me a day in one of my favorite cities – Chicago. The rich history of architecture seems to cover every street in a virtual competition to decide which structure will have the greatest visual impact. Buildings from well over a 100 years ago play on the same corner as their much younger siblings. A central location of gathering and community enjoyment is Millennium Park. On the vast acreage is located the centerpiece and work of modern art, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.
Designed by Frank Gehry, his plans for this ultra-modern orchestral center were unveiled in November, 1999. The Pritzker family, for whom it is named, donated $15M towards the project. Unique curving stainless steel plates frame the stage opening. 4,000 fixed seats are positioned for a clear field of view. Large curving beams fly high overhead the lawn to support lights and a speaker system for the up to 7,000 additional attendees below. This open air venue is a wonderful destination to enjoy your favorite music under the warm summer sun or a clear starry night. While we enjoy this structure today, it was not without challenges to build. Most notably, a local historical zoning law forced the city to appropriately consider the structure art, rather than a building. Given its appearance, this seems be an accurate classification.
To me, the challenge when photographing such an iconic structure is to find a slightly different way to portray the mood. I tried to capture the sweeping feel of the high arches by positioning the camera slightly off axis. The exposure was slightly dark to negate the sky and bring the pavilion out as the main subject. The colorful lights in the background buildings add interest without removing focus. Seemingly tiny chairs on the stage add to the perspective of its truly massive size. My timing was fortunate as I was able to make this image just minutes before they closed the stage doors for the night.
Single Frame, Processed in LR and Topaz Clarity