Jon Damaschke’s photographs are momentary glimmers, a collective subconscious of urban life in the City of Chicago. Using a rollieflex camera, his eye is constantly attempting to catch the present moment in synchrony with time before it passes and transforms into something else.
Many of his photos portray unsuspecting people roaming the city at chance moments when their lives intersect with Damaschke’s camera and with a sense of heightened design, he captures their likeness in a way that adds grandeur to ordinary events. In a similar way to many of the stories told in this issue, there are many pregnant moments in the urban life all around us. The deep texture and richness of shooting and developing film adds a unique quality to his work that lends a timelessness to the characters and locations he photographs. Even the delay in the process of shooting an image in the moment but not seeing the artwork realized until the roll has been developed adds a layer of mystery and craft to the final results, and their additions to his body of work as auspicious events.
“To me, street photography is the best way that I can document my life. My memory is terrible and what I cannot express through words, I express through art. I understand that this may sound confusing, since the vast majority of my work consists of images of other people. These people are not close to me. They are complete strangers. The interactions that we share are completely random. Personally, shooting street is an extremely challenging activity. Being and introvert, my brain carries a high sense of social anxiety. Whenever I spot a prospective photo, I get nervous. More often than not, I feel anxious and scared. My camera trembles due to shaky hands. Forcing myself to be overwhelmed into Chicago’s downtown hustle and bustle seems to be a temporary cure. A moment of embarrassment, or many moments at that, prove to be worth the trouble when I see the results.
The main goal is to show the diversity and the similarity between us all. We all walk the same streets, see the same buildings, ride the same buses and L train cars. However, our lives are different and complex in comparison to each other. Freezing a special moment in time, and doing it well, can change the way one sees the world.” –Jon Damaschke, Artist Statement
We are ecstatic to share so many of Jon’s photos with our readers in this edition of Literary Orphans and encourage everyone to become followers of his work online. To see more of his portfolio or contact his professionally, please visit his official photography website, his deviantART profile, or Facebook page.
Jon was also kind enough to answer a few questions regarding his photography and inspiration, which you can read here, in his interview with Literary Orphans.