Since visiting tourist attractions are often thought of as contrived, I often believe exploring the lesser known areas a positive experience.


Three days in Chicago meant fitting in exploring and seeing and tasting all the things I wanted in a tightly packed schedule. After seeing multiple, fascinating images of abandoned buildings in and around Chicago, I contacted photographer and PhD candidate, David Schalliol out of the blue. To my delight, he replied, and we planned a meeting for brunch. Because of his “Isolated Buildings Study” and suburban depictions of often more derelict areas, I asked about his process, intentions behind the projects, and some of the city’s history.

Warehouse Docks

Chicago is not regarded as the safest city in the United States, and as a somewhat small, Asian woman in an unfamiliar area, I am extremely wary of my surroundings. Fortunately, I had almost no negative encounters. However, this also meant that I could not bring myself to simply step into any abandoned building alone without protection. If I had more time to explore Chicago, I would definitely plan better to some of these places I’ve seen in photographs in person with other friends.

Under The Train Tracks

Brick is widely used, especially in comparison to the drab, dessert-toned plethora of stucco buildings in Los Angeles. I love seeing this material, though the building below looked like it had seen better days. I also wonder why so many windows and doors were bricked up in the city. Is it to deter vandals and trespassers? A re-purposing of the building? I suppose it’s something I’ll have to learn on my next trip.

Brick Building