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

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 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 photograph captures 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 exactly where it was taken. My other avocation is law and finance. 

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

In the July 2018, I will be teaching a course through the Northwestern University OLLI program on the conversion of color images to monochrome.  It will examine the history of black and white photography, identify the types of photographs that are good candidates for conversion, and explore the many techniques in Lightroom and Photoshop for converting images, as well as two standalone conversion programs (Silver Efex Pro and DxO Film Pak 5).

In terms of equipment, I am all over the map: Leica, Sony, Olympus, Arca-Swiss (with a Leaf Credo digital back), and Fuji. I use Mac computers, Eizo monitors, Canon inkjet printers and Really Right Stuff support.  I process and organize my photographs using Lightroom, Photoshop, Capture One, and Nik and DxO Plug-ins.

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