Great Hall – January 20, 2013

Posted by Admin on Jan 19, 2013 in Featured Photo of the Week | 1 comment

Great Hall – January 20, 2013

I realized long ago that the true way to experience a destination is to live in that place.  As tourists, I believe it’s inherently in our (my?) nature to try to see as much as possible when we know we only have a limited time to experience that city.  While cramming our schedules full of sightseeing can be fulfilling, it is a completely different experience from the locals who are able to focus on the venacular of day to day life. 

Inversely, it becomes very easy to miss some of the major attractions in each city if living there with no specific time table, and the mindset of “what’s the hurry, I can always go see it tomorrow.”  Ideally, I would be able to spend an indefinite amount of time at all the cities & towns on my travel list; enough time to truly be immersed in the cultures of day to day life but also balanced with the sightseeing tours. 

The photo below is one example.  The Great Hall is located in Chicago’s Union Station, and was designed by one of Chicago’s most famous architects/planners, Daniel Burnham.   The grandeur of the space, which is free to visit and accessible 24 hours a day, is obvious for anyone who stops to look around.  Unfortunately for me, and most of the 200,000+ other commuters to Union Station on a daily basis, Union Station functions as more of a utilitarian purpose of getting to and from work, when most of us are so focused on getting from point A to point B, that we rarely take the time to really look around at our surroundings.  Also unfortunate, is that this large, inviting Grand Hall, no longer functions as the main entrance to access the train platforms.  While the procession of a couple entrances do go through the space, the main entrances forego the history and beauty of the 115 foot tall space, and instead progress through spaces no taller than 15 foot high. 

Great Hall 01 – Chicago Union Station
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While I personally walk through this station nearly every day, this specific photo was taken late in the evening when the trains run much less frequently and I had a long wait until the next one’s arrival.  I happened to have of my photo gear with me from an architectural shoot earlier in the day. Had a train been waiting for me that night, I sincerely doubt that I would have stopped to experience the space, let a long set up for photos. 

Later this week however, I will be in full tourist mode for a long weekend in New York.  While I do not expect to have to use Grand Central Station to get around, it is definitely on my short list of places to visit to just experience and photograph.  I wonder how many New York natives I will see looking around and enjoying the space versus how many locals I will see purely trying to get through the station as quick as possible en route to their jobs or other destinations.

-Antuany Smith

1 Comment

  1. Very nice photo – checking if comments are public?

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