I need your help

A gut-wrenching life event led me to shut down this blog last week. Twitter accounts were deleted, a job was resigned, and I made the decision to leave Chicago.

Here’s the thing: after a few days of clear-thinking, I know I don’t want to leave Chicago. I still have one thing going for me here, and that’s my part-time job. It allowed me time support my hobby; wandering the city taking photos and sharing them on Building Up Chicago. Now, that part-time job isn’t enough.

Many of you reached out last week to let me know the blog would be missed, and that touched my heart. Some of you asked if there was anything you could do to help keep the blog alive. Maybe there is.

Some of you work in the construction, architecture, or development industries. Note: I am not asking for a job. What I’m asking are your thoughts on the need within your industries for photographers. Someone to go out to job sites, capture images of progress, and report back so that those who unable to be in the field can monitor that progress with their own eyes. (This is an example of ideas I have. The floor is open for other ways you’re aware of as to how companies could use my interest in Chicago’s built environment for their businesses.)

Friends, I need help. I have realized the hobby that became Building Up Chicago is what I would like to do professionally, but I need your help determining how, and even *if*, that’s a realistic goal.

Thank you for reading, always. I hope to hear from you soon.

Daniel

5 thoughts on “I need your help

  1. Daniel,

    Wanted to extend my appreciation for all your hard work and obvious passion for the city and its many construction sites. Your blog was a daily visit of mine for the great photos and clever, entertaining humor. Miss seeing you on the forums and will miss this blog as well.
    Wish you the best of luck!

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  2. Hi Daniel,

    My wife and I are very grateful for what you were doing for the construction nerds as we consider ourselves! We hope that you will change your mind and continue your exciting hobby that gives us the different perspective of the city we love. We will spread out the word as far as we can as hundreds of other reader of this blog!

    Thank you!

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  3. Hey Daniel ,

    Your blog was great . Pro Photography is very competitive , but there are niches for ‘industrial’ photography and what you’ve mentioned – the blog is a good ‘portfolio/resume’ as a start , but it will take time and resources to build up client base .The use of Drones for site work , and captures from on-site video surveillance also cut into the work that used to be done the old-fashioned way . Good Luck , and hope to see some of your work in the future !!

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  4. Hey, Dan –

    So sorry to hear of this terrible news. I can’t imagine what a jolt to your life all of this has been, though I’m glad you posted an update.

    I have some random thoughts. I don’t mean these to be discouraging, but want to give you a lay of the land/industry from my experiences.

    First and foremost, one of the major disruptors of ‘construction progress’ photography are smart phones and webcams. I would say that 95% of update photos are required for temporary, internal use. Furthermore, on any given day there are plenty of willing ‘photographers’ already on-site who can snap a few photos of a specific subject that they can send back to HQ for review.

    Earlier in my career, I had assumed construction companies would want to pay top dollar for construction photos – it’s what they do, right? But it turned out they are usually more interested in high-end photos of the finished project. I have sold a decent amount of construction photos over the years, but they don’t command the same amount of money as hero shots of the finished buildings do. Many firms see the lifespan of progress shots as temporary thus less valuable.

    On-Site documentation: I’ve done a handful of projects where I’ve been on-site (concrete pours, etc.) and in all cases, I’ve needed to provide my client with a certificate of commerical insurance. In order to have commercial insurance, you need a registered business. While I’m sure you can non-insured site access if you know workers on-site, it’s a lot harder to legitimately get on a site to provide a professional service if you don’t have proper credentials.

    What I do think you have going for you is just how many sites you have been documenting. I never quite understood how you could get to so many projects and keep your blog updated.

    I’m running out of cogent thoughts, but feel free to email me if you have specific questions.

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  5. Hi:

    I do Construction Monitoring (among other work) for a company which performs due diligence activities on behalf of lenders. Photography is part of the site-visit portion of our work, but more of it is matching GC Pay Apps with work on-site and desk-job-type report composition. No one seems terribly concerned with the quality of the photography.

    I assume larger projects have dedicated lenders reps, so these “hired out” reports are only for projects of perhaps 5-60 million (hard costs), which doesn’t go very far for high-rises. Also, there is a lot of traveling and it is generally piecework. But, I think it is one of the few occupations where construction photography is integral.

    I hope to see the blog active soon. It is among my daily reads and I am worse for its absence.

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