Jack Siegel is a Chicago-based photographer whose practice includes architectural and urban landscape photography.  Jack uses this site to highlight his photographs and thoughts about Chicago, its people, its architecture, and its culture.

Smiling Phases, going places
Even when they bust you
Keep on smiling through and through
And you’ll be amazed at the gaze on their faces
As they sentence you
— Traffic, Smiling Phases, from Heaven Is in Your Mind
Well, lift me from the wonder maze
Alienation is the craze
— The Cars, Double Life, from Candy-O

A Brief Bio

I am a Chicago-based photographer who picked up a camera late in life. I was never interested in family snapshots even though a case can be made that photographs of those you know may be the only photographs with any “true” meaning. I do share my work with family and friends. 

Their feedback has inspired me to pursue photography as a serious avocation.  My favorite photographers include Berenice Abbott, Bruce Davidson, Elliot Erwitt, Saul Leiter, Richard Misrach, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and Massimo Vitali, but the list is constantly changing. I am particularly intrigued with the painterly effect that Leiter was able to achieve and his use of expired film to achieve color shifts.

I enjoy photographing musicians. While many photographers capture images of the group, I enjoy capturing images of individual players. My objective is to create a photograph that comes as close to a studio portrait as possible even though the image is made during a live performance. My interest in musicians as photographic subjects comes out of my 50-year interest in all forms of music. I also enjoy architectural and urban photography.  I am more interested in the lighting and structures than the people who populate urban environments, but if people are present, no problem.  In terms of philosophy, photography is all about light, form, and curation. When photographing any locale, I have succeeded if you like the photograph, but don’t know where it was taken.  

I currently have an Age of Trump project underway, with 300 or so prints to date. I have covered events in New York, Washington, D.C., and Chicago.

I began my career as a tax lawyer and still consider myself to be a card-carrying member of that brotherhood.  Along the way, I also have taught, developed software, and provided consulting services to nonprofit organizations.  I have a BBA and JD from the University of Wisconsin, a LLM (Tax) from New York University, and an MBA from Northwestern University.  I am licensed to practice law in Illinois and Wisconsin.  I am licensed as a CPA in Wisconsin.

I am the author of A Desktop Guide for Nonprofit Directors, Officers, and Advisors: Doing Good While Avoiding Trouble, which was published in 2006 by John Wiley & Sons. 

I author Show and Tell, a photoblog that covers my work in Chicago, as well as my Detours from Chicago.  It includes my photographs and commentary about them.  http://www.chicagoobserations.com

In terms of equipment, I am all over the map: Leica, Fuji, Sony, Olympus, and Arca Swiss (with a Leaf Credo digital back).  I use Mac computers, Eizo monitors, Canon inkjet printers, Really Right Stuff support, and ProPhoto strobes.   For post processing, I use Photoshop, Lightroom, Capture One, and the Nik Suite.

I have traveled to most of the states in the United States, as well as American Virgin Islands, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, British Virgin Islands, Cambodia, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Puerto Rico, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Turkey, Turks Caicos, and Vietnam.

I am a third-year student in the Great Books program at the University of Chicago's Gleacher Center.   

In the Summer 2018, I taught a workshop on converting color images to black and whites ones at the Osher Life Long Learning Institute at Northwestern University.   I also participate in a weekly workshop at Osher.

Member: American Society of Media Photographers, and the National Press Photographers Association.