Fire & Ice
On Tuesday, January 22, Chicago had one of its largest fires in recent years. The Chicago fire department called in one third of its fighters to battle the blaze.
It’s been about a week now, and there’s still smoke rising from the site. The fire was during a bitter cold snap in the city, which caused the water from the hoses to freeze over the building, covering it in ice.
I went down the morning after the fire, really wanting to take in the scene for myself. Chicago has history with large fires, so when I went down to shoot the scene, I knew I wanted to shoot with the Hipstamatic tintype filter to capture images that brought back the feeling of the big fire of 1871. It’s also part of a larger series I’ve been shooting with my phone, capturing small bodegas and buildings in Chicago. Traditionalist may scoff at the “faking it” look of the iPhone tintype, but to me, the camera you have with you is the best camera—and the tintype is an aesthetic I love.
The most interesting reaction to these photos has been from the Instagram community, where one of my photos was put on the Instagram blog, I believe they found the image through the popular Chicago IG feed of #thisischicago, which I tagged my shots with. My IG feed (@therealdougphoto) really exploded—normally I might get a 10-20 likes on my photos, but after these went up on the IG blog, the photos from that series have been pulling in hundreds of likes. It’s going viral in a small way, but it’s still pretty exciting to watch. Every time I open my feed I see dozens of new likes, and many new followers. — Doug McGoldrick