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Jim Hill

“Behind the City” is a study of light at night in the alleys of some of Chicago’s neighborhoods. During the pandemic, the darkness of Chicago’s alleys provided me comfort and cover from the events going on around me. The artificial lights transform what is bland and ugly in the daylight into a beautiful hidden world, which is visible to those willing to risk the unknown of the shadows. The subtle quality and uneven distribution of light at night in the alleys creates nuanced shadows that accentuate the balance between light and darkness.

“Behind the City” is my documentation of what lies behind the streets of Chicago at night. Alleys provide a unique perspective on society. Essentially portals into private lives, alleys show us how people live and what they value. The unwanted and discarded are on public display as the chaos of public utilities pass overhead. What is visible from the street is a projection of what people want you to think about them.
The alleys provide a view of the gritty reality of what is behind the public projections on the street. What is seen from the street is a projection of our conscious selves while the view from the alleys is a
glimpse into the subconscious.

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