2020 Northwestern Photowalk Recap | Photography Unfolded

2020 Northwestern Photowalk Recap

 In Workshop Recaps

It’s been about 2 years since I held a photowalk so it was about time to get back out! With covid, these shorter outings are a perfect fill-in until we can get back to full workshops. Though they’re probably good to keep around for those that can’t make the longer outings.

Evanston is a bit far to include in the Chicago workshop but it’s the perfect place for about a 3-hour walk around the lakefront campus. There are 4 buildings in particular that are really fantastic to check out. Plus, the location can’t be beat on a beautiful fall morning!

As usual, I had a great group with me. It really was so great to get out shooting with others for a little while!

Onto the locations…

Segal Visitor Center

The first stop was the Perkins + Will designed Segal Visitor Center. We began by shooting the west side of the building, in shade at this time of day. Standing a bit south of the building, facing north and trying to combine the straight edge of the building with its curves for a nice contrast and a bit of layering

perkins + will, segal visitor center, northwestern university

My favorite part of the building is the east side, particularly the area covering the parking garage. P+W did a great job drawing inspiration from the sailboats on Lake Michigan just behind it. The fins on the garage definitely resemble sails. Plus, they offer natural ventilation for the garage. There are a number of ways to shoot these fins, a bit of negative space with the blue sky which plays well with the white. Or filling the frame from a distance to show the curve in the design.

perkins + will, segal visitor center, northwestern university perkins + will, segal visitor center, northwestern university

Ryan Center for the Musical Arts

A very short walk north and we’re at the next stop designed by Goettsh Partners. From a distance the waves of the lake created nice reflections in the angled facade of the building.


But the most fun way to shoot this is to focus on the reflections. Get super close to the glass, in this case by wedging myself into the corner, and looking up. Nice reflections of the building onto itself. Great geometry!

ryan center for the musical arts, goettsch partners, northwestern university,

Or include the lake for a great combo of nature and the manmade. Plus, that early morning light makes for some great drama.

Kellogg School of Management

Onto my favorite building on the campus designed by KPMB Architects. The curves in this design create so many great options. Not to mention how the blue of the sky and lake reflects in its surface creating a great contrast with the warm tones of the wood on the underside of each section. The east side, to me, had the most options in terms of creating photos. Here, just a couple of ideas (plus the header image).

You can also include some of the angles along with the curves. Another type of contrast to be on the lookout for. Here, from the east and north sides.

A couple more from the east and west sides.

University Libraty

The last stop, something a bit older and quite different from what we’ve seen so far, the brutalist University Library designed by Walter Netsch. The contrast in play of light and shadow is a great way to approach this building. It’s also full of fantastic texture and staggered blocks which aide in creating depth and dimension. I tend to prefer approaching brutalist design in black and white.

But, it can also look great in color with the sun giving the concrete a bit of warmth, especially against a vivid blue sky.

One of the attendees asked why it’s called brutalism. This could be a whole post in and of itself, which I’ll follow up with in the coming weeks. But it’s more or less due to its characteristics of massive, blocky appearance, rigid geometric style and large-scale use of poured concrete. This is an oversimplification but as I said, more to come 🙂

Stay tuned for the student images! And if you like the idea of these photowalks, where would you like to go? Hoping to get at least one more in before it gets too cold!

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