Shooting from the Hip, an exhibit of iPhone-photographed Chicago street scenes by award-winning Chicago Tribune photographer Scott Strazzante, will be on display starting July 8 at Roosevelt University’s Gage Gallery, 18 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.
The exhibit of 50 black-and-white photographs shot by Strazzante with an iPhone that he holds unassumingly just above the hip, captures and celebrates street life - unbeknownst to passersby along the city’s Michigan Avenue as well as nearby downtown locations that are within walking distance of the Gage Gallery.
The winner of 11 Illinois Photographer of the Year awards in the last 14 years, including taking top honors the last three years in the Illinois Press Photographers’ Camera Phone category, Strazzante uses an iPhone application called Hipstamatic and a technique in which he never looks at his screen in order to frame and capture photos of people and news as it happens on city streets.
“It’s a sub-genre of photography in which one captures real life as it looks without putting anyone on alert that the photography is taking place,” said Strazzante, who will discuss his iPhone photography and technique at 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 8 during the exhibit’s opening night reception at Gage. “It’s also about the ease of taking photos in today’s society and about the democratization of photography in general,” he said.
One of the region’s best-known iPhone street photographers, Strazzante has been doing news photography for nearly three decades, and began experimenting with an iPhone about five years ago, trying it first on his daughter’s phone during a college tour trip to Washington D.C.
“I consider it to be a stream-of-consciousness approach to photography in which I’m saying ‘This is what I saw today on my half-hour photo walk,’” said Strazzante who posts his photos on Instagram as well as on a Tribune blog called Shooting From the Hip. He said he chooses not to feature jokey, embarrassing or unflattering kinds of street-scene photos.
Tyra Robertson, director of instructional technology and an adjunct instructor in Roosevelt’s Department of Communication, is curating the show and Strazzante’s unusual technique, which she acknowledges may be seen as controversial.
“It’s a sign of the times. Everyone is carrying around phones that are being used to capture images,” she said. “I believe a good photo is a good photo no matter how it’s taken, which is part of what makes this exhibit so interesting.”
Free and open to the public, Shooting from the Hip opens a day before Taste of Chicago and is expected to draw tourists as well as festival goers who are interested in a taste of Chicago’s street scene as well as its food. Gage Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. Shooting from the Hip will run through Aug. 30. For information, visit www.roosevelt.edu/gagegallery or call 312-281-3220.
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