Window licking in Chicago

One of the great ways to explore any city is to walk its streets and just observe.  One of my favourite things to do is to take pictures of the shop windows.  It is my form of window shopping and at the same time documenting a city's unique sense of place.

I find that many of the reflections combine a rich layering of imagery - the window display, the architecture across the street, the people walking by, the cars and bikes driving by, street furniture, trees and flowers.

I like the visual complexity - it is hard to read these photos at a glance, it takes some time to decipher the details.  There is often a wonderful a sense of energy, as well as a sense of as you capture the fleeting moment of people walking by.  There is randomness and sense of surprise.  I don't compose the picture and just point and shoot.  

I have used the term "window licking" in several blogs now - Paris and Portlandia.  I do so because the french phase for window shopping "fair du leche-vitrines" translates into English as "licking the windows."  

I think the images I have chosen for this photo essay demonstrate the charm and character of the streets of Chicago from Michigan Avenue aka Magnificient Mile, to Old Town and Bucktown.  

Love to hear your comments.

 

Not sure what is about eyewear stores but it doesn't matter if it Calgary or Chicago, it seems they often have the most creative and fun windows.  This one has a pop art, Jetson-like design.  The eye glassed are set inside what looks like large eyeballs.  How fun is that? 

This may well be one of the most provocative windows I have ever encountered that wasn't a sex shop.  Found on a side street just north of Michigan Ave at the edge of the Gold Coast.  It is both fun and erotic!

This may well be one of the most provocative windows I have ever encountered that wasn't a sex shop.  Found on a side street just north of Michigan Ave at the edge of the Gold Coast.  It is both fun and erotic!

This is a street window in an office building. I don't usually take notice of these, but this one conveyed to me a sense of isolation and minimalism that is too often associated with office buildings at street level.  For me it has a 21st century Edward Hopper like quality to it. 

This is a street window in an office building. I don't usually take notice of these, but this one conveyed to me a sense of isolation and minimalism that is too often associated with office buildings at street level.  For me it has a 21st century Edward Hopper like quality to it. 

Found this amazing Portuguese Bakery in Bucktown that was right out of the '60s. Places like these are the thrill that every flaneur is looking for.  Anybody can go to the tourist traps. 

Found this amazing Portuguese Bakery in Bucktown that was right out of the '60s. Places like these are the thrill that every flaneur is looking for.  Anybody can go to the tourist traps. 

I stared at these wigs for a long time wondering if they were worth a picture. Then I notice the Texas Long Horn and smiled.  Another find in Bucktown! 

I stared at these wigs for a long time wondering if they were worth a picture. Then I notice the Texas Long Horn and smiled.  Another find in Bucktown! 

Yes this is over the top, but I loved the reflection of the historic architecture with the modern fashion and kitchy display.  

Yes this is over the top, but I loved the reflection of the historic architecture with the modern fashion and kitchy display.  

We walked by this place serval times on Michigan Avenue and we always stopped and marvelled at the display.  It was three floors of nothing but old sewing machines, it was just as impressive from the bus as from the street.  Created a definite statement.  Wish more places would take the time to be creative and create street statement.   

We walked by this place serval times on Michigan Avenue and we always stopped and marvelled at the display.  It was three floors of nothing but old sewing machines, it was just as impressive from the bus as from the street.  Created a definite statement.  Wish more places would take the time to be creative and create street statement.   

Mens' shop aren't usually as creative as women's but this window caught our attention. Love the shorts and jacket - I am not sure I could pull that off. 

Mens' shop aren't usually as creative as women's but this window caught our attention. Love the shorts and jacket - I am not sure I could pull that off. 

This is street art at its finest.  It is like a set to a play that is about to happen.  There is an open-ended narrative.  I could look at this all day and it would continue to speak to me.

This is street art at its finest.  It is like a set to a play that is about to happen.  There is an open-ended narrative.  I could look at this all day and it would continue to speak to me.

This is a stationary store window in Old Town.  I loved the  fun use of the pencils.  It was only later that I realize that reflection of the one-legged women really dominates the photograph and gives it an another level of fun/surprise which is what window licking is all about. Great streets are full of surprises.  

This is a stationary store window in Old Town.  I loved the  fun use of the pencils.  It was only later that I realize that reflection of the one-legged women really dominates the photograph and gives it an another level of fun/surprise which is what window licking is all about. Great streets are full of surprises.