Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Day Two - On Office Views and Memories of My Father

Pictured you have my two favorite aspects of my office. Initially, there is the view. My office is small, by most standards, but the view is grand. My office faces east, and looking to the southeast one can see Millennium Park (including Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate sculpture (AKA The Bean) and the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, designed by the brilliant Frank Gehry), The Modern Wing of the Art Institute, Grant Park (the site of the single best concert I've ever seen and will ever see, Radiohead, in the summer of 2001 after the fall release of Kid A (I'm listening to my favorite Kid A track "How to Disappear Completely" now as I write)), The Adler Planetarium, the Shedd Aquarium, and Lake Michigan (including Monroe Harbor (no boats moored yet)). I always take a few minutes of my day, sometimes more, to take in a spectacular view of the city that I call home. All Chicagoans are truly lucky to have such an amazing city at their disposal.

Secondly, one can make out the reflected visage of a framed piece of art that sits on the south wall of my office. This is a photograph, entitled "Russolo Noise Intoner.." and it was taken by my late father, John R. Grady. He made a living taking photographs and teaching others to do the same. His professional life was more than that, however, as I have learned and experienced. Through photography, he taught critical and unique thinking, compositional skills, and how to appreciate the value and beauty of the things one sees around them. I remember being in Florida as a young boy with the entire family, at a certain popular theme park, and having to wait for him to take photographs of a particularly colorful bench (one in a series of many benches that lined a walkway near a kingdom of magical proportion and legend). As he crouched with his camera to an angle and level equivalent to a toddler's height, he slowed his shutter speed and shook his camera side to side with a steady hand, and with purpose, as he took innumerable photographs of his seemingly mundane subject. Families passing by stopped, looked on, and surely wondered who let this lunatic in the park. That was my father, creating art out of something that no one else really ever noticed or considered as valuable (outside of a place to sit, naturally).

Two of his other photographs also hang on the south wall of my office. They are "Lloyd's Tower %ILE" and "The FUTURE that WAS %8". Each of these works showcase his penchant for graphic elements, color, composition, and movement. The photographs are not only a daily reminder of my father himself, but of the tradition of art and photography that is in my blood (including my mother who is a talented artist, actress, and champion of the arts in her own right). That tradition continues with this project as I attempt to capture the value and beauty of all things around me over the course of the next year...

(You may have also noticed that I have an intense affinity of parentheses and parentheticals... I also enjoy the ellipsis... If you dislike pervasive use of parentheses and ellipses, then this project is probably going to drive you nuts...)


  1. Looking forward to taking this journey with you Darrem. Good for you. What a great opportunity to take pictures, reflect and take some time to remember that life is good. I've got it bookmarked so I'll be checking in frequently, but feel free to send out some reminders once in awhile. Oh, and Happy Birthday!

  2. Nice view! Sure beats that of Irvine. This is a great project. I'm looking forward to following it for what I hope is going to be an awesome year.

  3. Hi Darren

    Way to go dude!

    I've been there - the shaking camera pictures - of water pipes at McCormick Place during a visit to a fishing show with J.R.

    It's great to see the legacy of creative and critical thinking through the lens of a camera surfacing with the next Grady generation.

    Great travels on this journey Darren.

    Best Regards,