Saturday Snapshots #51

by Jeanne on August 15, 2009

in Photography, Saturday Snapshots, Travel - USA


The Bean – Chicago, October 2008

I expected a number of things when I went to Chicago last year.  I expected a very big lake.  I expected great Art Deco architecture.  And I expected to re-enact the scene from Ferris Bueller's Day Off where they go up the Sears Tower and lean their heads against the picture windows of the observation deck.  And I was not disappointed in any of those expectations. What I did not expect was to fall head over heels in love with a piece of public art. 

Cloud Gate, affectionately known as The Bean, stands in the northwest corner of Millennium Park (itself a corner of Grant Park) and was created by British-born artist Anish Kapoor and unveiled in 2004.  It is an astonishing structure shaped roughly like a bean and consisting of a steel frame covered by a seamless polished stainless steel skin, inspired by the appearance of liquid mercury.  On the underside of the sculpture is the omphalos, an indentation whose mirrored surface provides multiple reflections of any subject situated beneath it.  Luckily for me, the Bean was approximately a five minute walk from our apartment in Chicago.  I discovered it on day one and went back for a visit every single day for two weeks.  I took pictures at noon; I took pictures at dusk; with crowds; and before the crowds arrived.  I marvelled at the changing reflections; at people's reactions; and at my own reflection forming part of the sculpture, if only for a while.

There is no way that you can approach the Bean without smiling – it generates a childish sense of wonder and delight.  And if that isn't that great public art is all about, then I don't know.

This is part of a series of non-food photographs that will be published every Saturday on CookSister. Click here for a full list of photographs previously featured.  

All photos featured in Saturday Snapshots are available to buy as greeting cards or prints in my RedBubble store, including the new Year of Saturday Snapshots calendar, an A3-size calendar bringing together the most popular images from the first year of Saturday Snapshots.  Feel free to browse - it makes a great Christmas stocking filler!

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Manggy August 16, 2009 at 11:45 am

I actually didn’t see this! Guess I have to go back for that smile :D


Paz August 16, 2009 at 2:41 pm

what a wonderful shot!


Kit August 16, 2009 at 5:42 pm

I love it too – especially that organic shadow that it makes and then reflects.


nina August 16, 2009 at 9:25 pm

You were rewarded for all your trouble with this lovely shot!!!


Lisa-Jo August 17, 2009 at 4:15 am

I am also a South African who spent quite a bit of time in Chi-town until I couldn’t take the corporate law firm life and followed my husband to the former Soviet Union for a spell (but that’s another story). Mostly, I just wanted to say how lovely to stumble onto your blog and see that a fellow countrywoman is blogging her way through a city I used to call home. So, what did you think of the Chicago style pizza? I never quite acquired the taste but my husband swears by it!


Johnna Knows Good Food August 20, 2009 at 8:17 pm

I love, love, love Chicago! The food is good, the vibe is cool and the scenary is beautiful.


Zarah Maria August 21, 2009 at 7:07 am

You had to give me one more reason to go to Chicago?? This looks wondrous, no wonder you had to come back again and again :)


Angela@SpinachTiger August 24, 2009 at 1:20 pm

As soon as I opened this, I knew it was Chicago. Great pic.


evfodivuo March 22, 2011 at 8:45 pm

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