photo: © David Moenkhaus - all rights reserved 773 612-4166

Power Plant


This is an iconic building in Chicago on the Chicago River called the Union Station power plant. I’ve always have been attracted to it and had attempted to photograph it many times over the years, but I was never happy with any of the images I made of it. I’ve always liked it because of it’s art deco inspired architecture but mostly I’m attracted to it because it’s always reminded me of the famous Battersea Power Station in London  – the one that was featured on the cover of Pink Floyd’s 1977 album, “Animals”.

But, I just couldn’t figure out how to shoot it until one day I realized if I showed up during the winter when the temperature was fairly low, and if I used a long exposure, the steam rising out of the vents on top of the old building would smear and blur and might make a more interesting image.  So one freezing night in January, I walked down to shoot some film and came away with this. It was so cold that as I shot 2 or 3 rolls of Ilford Pan F Plus film of the building at 301 Taylor St., the river had partially frozen over by the time I was done.

The area has been built up a lot since I made this image -there’s an IMAX theater, some chain stores and some outstanding grocery stores there now,  but the old power plant is still there, keeping watch over the Chicago River.


power plant at Roosevelt Road and the Chicago River © David Moenkhaus

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