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Review of Hedrich Blessing Interiors: Architectural Photography of the 1930s
By Alan G. Artner
Tribune art critic
Published January 25, 2008

The 2001 exhibition at the Chicago Historical Society gave Hedrich Blessing, one of North America's principal studios to specialize in architectural photography, the high-toned treatment the firm deserves: 70 years of images and a first-rate hardcover book. But some of the greatest pieces came from the 1930s, Hedrich Blessing's first full decade of operation, and many of the Art Deco and Art Moderne structures were so beautiful that they are distinctly worth revisiting, which the ArchiTech gallery does now.

The majority of the pieces are by co-founder Ken Hedrich, whose philosophy, "Don't make photographs, think them," went beyond a record of buildings to give a more atmospheric experience. All of the pictures, are interiors, and of the vanished spaces I remember -- lobbies of the Esquire theater and the Diana Court building -- they succeed like few by other studios, presenting impressions elegant and memorable. The dramatic image of the backlit floor of the A.O. Smith Building in Milwaukee could well serve as a touchstone for the entire glamorous period. But then there's a shot of the Libby Owens Ford showroom at the Merchandise Mart that banishes glamor, becoming as sparely geometric as the paintings of Piet Mondrian. The rest of the show indicates that virtually no other firm of the time could respond to those poles better."

He refrained from commenting on the smell.

At 730 N. Franklin St., 312-475-1290.

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David Jameson
ArchiTech Gallery
730 North Franklin suite 200
Chicago, IL 60610

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