Take eleven veteran Chicago photographers and set them to the task of showcasing the deeds of civic, social service and political activist groups—inspired by the Kay Rosen public art project “Go Do Good”—and most of them end up producing images that could grace brochures and newspaper features—everything and everyone are resolutely goody-goody to the max. The one stellar exception is Emily Long, who chose to document the work of Preservation Chicago by shooting the buildings on the group’s list of “the most at-risk architectural treasures” with a pinhole camera. The distortions of shape and the chiaroscuro effects of the pinhole transform Long’s subjects into structures that seem to be plucked from a surreal gothic romance. Surrounded by murky shadowy black, Children’s Memorial Hospital in Lincoln Park, which will soon be vacated, appears in a circle of dull light, isolated like a castle in Transylvania. Long subverts “goodness” and dissolves document into fantasy with welcome effect. (Michael Weinstein)
Through October 1 at the Chicago Photography Collective, 108 North State.
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