Literary Orphans

Featured Artist: Jon Damaschke

Jon Damaschke’s street photography has been featured in these pages before; so much did we love his work, that we invited him back again for this issue. The last time Damaschke was featured, was in our Wordsworth issue in June of 2013 (view his old profile for that issue here, which includes an interview we did with him). In the 3 and a half years since that issue, Damaschke is still hard at work, making incredibly stunning photography. In the coming week or so we will be featuring a brand new interview–please keep your eyes peeled for that!

With his HQ here in Chicago–a local will immediately notice familiar sights in his work. From the towering skyscrapers, to the L trains, to the very attitude painted on many of his subject’s faces; Chicago looms large in his work. Yet Damaschke does not limit himself just to Chicago–photographs of Washington DC, the U.S. Virgin Islands, rural Illinois and Wisconsin, plus many other locales are featured in this issue.

The style in Damaschke’s work varies considerably, yet his portraits are a unique highlight of his work. In one photograph, titled “Richard Amacher,” we are given an excellent photo of a man with a pipe. Drifter and Viet Nam War veteran, the portrait radiates a sense of closeness and intimacy. Yet another portrait, titled “Run,” showcases an action shot of a woman as she runs in the shadows of Chicago’s skyscrapers. A sense of power and dignity grace her as she jogs, overcoming adversity with each stride. Both of these photographs implore us to look closer at the people we pass on the street each day, encouraging us to make the eye contact we so often avoid (either subconsciously or otherwise) as we go about our routines.

Jon Damaschke - Richard Amacher Jon Damaschke - Run

Another prominent feature of Damaschke’s work is his wonderful ability to capture scenes, settings, and landscapes. You can see many of these after the jump below, but I would like to discuss one in particular, entitled “Bastard Bastard.” The photograph captures a yellow school-bus, a short-bus, parked (or derelict?) under Chicago’s light rail tracks. The bright sun dapples through the elevated rail above, casting shadows and spots of brilliance on the scene below. Our sense of time telescopes and we start to imagine the smell of grass and the occasional rumble of the L train above, the smell of diesel and sticky paint. As someone who has walked around and under these tracks numerous times, to me this photograph stands as a reinforcement to the statement above; so busy in our own worlds–we often know not what we miss.

Jon Damaschke - Bastard Bastard

Jon Damaschke is a storyteller–flipping through his photographs I saw settings, characters, and moments of action I was dying to know more about. Below you will be able to see thumbnails of his photographs featured in this issue. Once again, please be on the lookout for an interview I will be conducting with him soon; and do not forget to click on these links to see more of his work:

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