Thursday, May 03, 2007

Camera central

In the late 1800s, thirteen-year-old Albert Flesch arrived alone in Chicago from Hungary to live with an uncle and discover the opportunity that was America. Albert scored his first job in the camera department of Siegel-Cooper, one of the large downtown department stores of its day.

By the end of the 1800s, Chicago had become a center of architecture and gained a reputation in the international community, thanks to the 1893 Columbian Exposition. In this atmosphere of growth and opportunity, Albert opened a camera store in 1899, which today is operated by Albert’s grandson.

My first job was in a camera store some thirty years ago. We prided ourselves in providing knowledge and help along with selling cameras and film. A visit to Central Camera is like going back in time. Yes, the technology and the equipment has changed, but the staff’s knowledge of and genuine love for photography is a welcome change from the cookie-cutter camera displays and bullet-point marketing of most of today’s retail stores.

This photo was taken during the NAP 2007 meetup last weekend. A group of photobloggers on a walking tour of Chicago’s loop made a “must-stop” here. Jonathan Greenwald, who specializes in candid urban portraits, is shown entering the shop. I learned a lot just watching him do his thing while we walked about for a few hours. Jonathan has some great street photography on his photoblog, Shrued. Check it out.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2007 James Jordan.


Jonathan Greenwald said...

Hey James. I am really digging this shot. The treatment makes it feel as if it's 1987 and not 2007. This definitely works for me.

I had a blast in Chicago and it was really great to meet you. Thanks for the kind words in the post!


Otto K. said...

Wonderful shot, James. I can't believe that we didn't meet up at the meet-up. We were on different walks though. I loved this store. They saved me with some fast B&W film.

Ghone said...

I do so enjoy visiting your site. Great photographs and lots to learn!
Regards, Ghone.