City Rain / Bill Sosin

Page 1

cityrain I mages by B ill S osin



A photographer is like a cod, which produces a million eggs in order that one may reach maturity. —George Bernard Shaw


cityrain Š 2012 Bill Sosin



What began as a spontaneous shot taken whimsically through the car windscreen on a rainy day in Chicago expanded into an ongoing investigation into ephemeral aspects of the city.

cityrain Suddenly impressionistic umbrella studies; images of shadowy smokers exiled from non-smoking office buildings; figures emerging from arcades of neon; vehicles engulfed in avalanches of snow, and wandering, isolated silhouettes reveal something about the irrevocable influence of the elements and the paradoxical loneliness of the metropolis.



“If you are out there shooting, things will happen for you. If you’re not out there, you’ll only hear about it.” ­—Jay Maisel

“Where is the cinema? It is all around you outside, all over the city, that marvelous, continuous performance of films and scenarios.” 13

—Jean Baudrillard


“The camera sees more than the eye, so why not make use of it?”


—Edward Weston .




while back I ran across some negatives I shot from my car in the old film days. I was intrigued by them and began photographing from inside my car again. Driving around Chicago in a downpour I had glazed over momentarily at a stop light as the droplets of rain gathered on the windshield and the chromium vapor of the street lamps blurred behind them. I let the cinema window of the car become obscured with the pebbles of water and then photographed them‌


What started haphazardly became an obsession and I have now captured hundreds of these images. Generally the texture of the precipitation is kept in focus, and the shape, weight and direction of the droplets can change according to windflow and the severity of the rainfall. Activity in the city streets is set in shallow focus behind this. Neon fluorescence and radiant red light from car brake lights are common themes, but more abstract and suggestive patterns are created by silhouetted pedestrians hastening along with pendulous umbrellas; vehicles such as towtrucks or sixteen wheelers, made more ominous in the dreamscape of their out of focus state; or lonely objects in storefront windows, rendered redundant by the inclement weather. The pure refractions of light are controlled by the lens choice, focus and exposure, blurred into kaleidoscopes or minimized to retain narrative detail. I search for different colorations, shooting at various times of day when the hue of the sky can contribute to the tableau.
















© 2012 Bill Sosin Volume 1, Number 7 All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without the expressed written permission of the publisher. Designed and produced by Paper Mirror Press, Chicago. ISBN 978-0-9707278-6-0

FC Sotto Voce 3 Genesis 5 The Loop 7 Stop Lights 6 Dark Man 7 Man At Night 9 Tandem 11 Jump Room 12 Bucktown 14 Superior St Taxi 15 Grant Park 14 Wabash 15 Apparition 16 School Bus 17 Triad 18 Light Bar 19 Chase 20 Metal, Water, Tree 22 Dark Parade 23 Lincoln Avenue 24 Mystery Man 27 New Town 28 Incognito 29 Headlights 30 White Room 31 The Dreamer 32 Marquee 33 Truth Before Fear 34 Sotto Voce 35 Semblance 36 Carry On 37 Transit 38 Head Wind 39 Oak Street 40 The Dress 41 Running Rain 42 Red Wall 43 Corner 44 Duo 45 Rider 46 Shelter 47 Back Drop 48 Blue Drops 49 Night Walk 50 Polar Bear 51 Thinker 52 Lumera 53 Street Light 54 Pilgrim 55 Black Hat 56 Point Cloud 57 Blue Man 58 Traveler 59 The Bridge 60 West Bridge 61 Windows 62 Afternoon Rain 63 Checker Taxi 64 Night Glow 65 Snow Puzzle 66 Metaphor 67 Clark Street 68 Local Knowledge 69 Snow Day BC NY Taxi


cityrain Paper Mirror Press

ISBN 978-0-9707278-4-8 Š 2012