Chicago is a very picturesque city because of its natural parklands, lakefront, skyscrapers, buildings designed by famous architects, railroads, bridges and neighborhoods.

Chicago is photo-central for diehard railfans. It’s the birthplace of the skyscraper, and we haven’t turned our waterfront areas into highways like New York City and Seattle

Here are three great photo sites for Chicago and the region:

  1. Revealing Chicago – Photos by Terry Evans taken from airplanes. Showcases the natural features of Chicagoland from above all six counties and northern Indiana. The photos are in full-color and look to be taken from a low elevation. The website presents a fantastic vantage point that makes it easy to understand what we need to protect – which is actually the purpose of the project and the goal of one of its sponsors, the Openlands Project.
  2. Picturing Chicago – This is a personal project from C.S.Shuratt, who holds a Ph.D. in sociology. He says he began the project of visualizing the city of Chicago as a research effort that would allow him to “utilize sociological theory and photography as a method to study the nature of various sociological concepts and forces.” What’s here is 5,000 black & white photos of the city. The expanse of the locations presented in the photos gives the suggestion that he walked every city block. The photos have the composition and quality of someone who wanted to present the city very simply, and it looks as if the photos could have been taken by someone with little to no training of a SLR camera.
  3. Chicago Imagebase – The title for this website and research project is kind of misleading. I was expecting to find an easily browse-able database of “official” pictures. Instead I found a site that seeks to document the civic history of a handful of neighborhoods through fire insurance maps, topographic maps, aerial photos, and Works Progress Administration. The website is really uninteresting for casual online visits, but looks to be useful for any student or resident looking for historical information, maps, and diagrams on the specific neighborhoods covered here. The aerial photographs are interesting to see how the roads were configured in the city in the past.

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