Cloth $40.00 ISBN: 9781930066397 Published October 2005


Photographs of Jails, Schools, and other Chicago Buildings

Scott Fortino


Scott Fortino

Distributed for Columbia College Chicago Press

With a Foreword by Judith Russi Kirshner
88 pages | 54 color photographs | 9-3/4 x 11-1/4 | © 2005
Published in association with Columbia College Chicago
Cloth $40.00 ISBN: 9781930066397 Published October 2005
They are places we fear to tread, monuments to the principles of our forebears, awe-inspiring towers of achievement: public institutions that sustain and support our lives are all around us. Scott Fortino investigates these enduring pillars of public life in Institutional, a striking visual essay that documents the diverse architectural structures that house the foundations of civic life in the city of Chicago.

From schools to churches to prisons, Fortino transforms these worn, familiar edifices into compelling symbols of long-lost ideals and communitarian spirit. Fortino coaxes out the subtle warmth and depths of these often overwhelming and pitiless public spaces in his photographs, as his camera reveals the hidden characters of both high-profile works by renowned designers such as Rem Koolhaas, Helmut Jahn, and Mies van der Rohe as well as the stolid structures designed by long-forgotten architects. Light, color, and composition work together in Fortino's images to produce provocative new perspectives on the interiors of public buildings, revealing how their cultural and social roles as places of worship, education, punishment, or entertainment cast long and complex shadows over our lives.
Fortino challenges us in Institutional to rethink our view of the public spaces we pass through every day by offering an original and fascinating photographic study of the settings in which the important events of human life unfold.
Introduction by Judith Russi Kirshner
The Plates
Photographic Recollections
Notes on the Plates
About the Author and the Essayist
Review Quotes
Paul D'Amato

“Scott Fortino’s pictures manage to convince us that these cold, lifeless institutions are full of light, color, and playful, formal possibility.  In fact, he convinces us that lifelessness and playfulness can exist in equal measure.  That’s why we keep looking, it’s so hard to believe.”--Paul D’Amato, professor, Columbia College Chicago

Kevin Nance | Chicago Sun-Times
"The book is shockingly beautiful, using rigorously formal compositions and ambient natural light to illuminate the often austere glories of Chicago public buildings by architects both deservedly famous (Mies van der Rohe, Rem Koolhaas, Helmut Jahn) and deservedly unknown. . . . In his way, Fortino is as conscious an artist as his modernist forebears, from Mondrian to Barnett Newman, Ad Reinhardt, Dan Flavin and other icons of American minimalism."
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