Brian Warling

Brilliant! I've always thought that every human being is beautiful-- it's a perfect (mostly) unfiltered illustration of the fact. While, I'm sure Roark moves on by the yuppies on the cell phones, I think he's capturing everyday people which we see on the street-- boiling humanity down to it's purest form. Makes me more optimistic than I've been in... oh at least three years from January. Particularly love the "Bush is a Moron" photo and the guy with the baby in his jacket. If this one goes into a book, they've ALL gotta be in there. It wouldn't be fair to skip any.


bush is bullshit!


Oh my, great series ; I just hope it continues forever

Marc Morel

These are lovely things, charged with beautiful depth in lots of cool ways. I really like 'em and resolve to visit over and over....!
Please keep going :-)


This is as much a testimony to Chicago, or perhaps to America in general, as it is to each different person. This is great stuff. I love the diversity of the photos and the way you capture such different events, but all in the Keep it up! I'm just waiting to see a familiar face... :)



so fantastic! absolutely love the concept and the photos a terrific.



R.J. Fox

Really great photo blog! I've just found it -- how in the hell do you process an 8x10 everyday??
Thanks for making my day.


I mentioned your blog on mine because I've just started getting into 8x10 photography, and heck...with any camera, what you've done would be impressive. My question is similar to R.J.'s -- do you literally process a sheet of film every day (presumably HP5 or Tri-X), and do you scan your negs or the prints? I'm wondering how I'm going to scan my 8x10 stuff down the road.

Wonderful, wonderful site -- keep it up!!

Roark Johnson

Thanks for the encouragment! It's become a ritual....Sunday evening I tray process the 7 or so negs from the previous week. I shoot Tri X 320, (Kodak doesn't make 400 anymore) in D-76 1:1 for about 12 minutes. (nothing like standing in the dark) I rate the film at 200. I agitate continuously and bring the bottom sheet to the top over and over. I scan the negs using a flatbed scanner and then do a bit of "burning and dodging" with layers in Photoshop. Good luck with the 8X10's remarkable to have so much information and latitude and when it comes to printing them it's incredible how much detail there is in shadows and how easy it is to burn in highlights.


great, great work.


i like how he looks somewhat faded and washed out, with the black glasses standing out.


Great work, Roark. I'm constantly checking back to see if you've posted another set of photos. I haven't had a chance to use a large format camera in ages, but you've brought about a longing to go out and get one.


a fountainhead Roark

stranger made of light
in sight insight per diem
rockin grayscale.
eye like.
coming back to see 'um
try color film for b&w in photoshop.
no opining
only pining
for a slab
of cardboard with
a hole
in it.
see smoke.
please con


Just found your site, phenomenal project, I'm very impressed by the whole thing. I'll be following it from now on, how do you stay motivated?


Great stuff.


can you just say that on the internet?


powerful jazz. they keep getting better. id say you were the sanders of the 21st century, but he didnt have photoshop.


awesome work, roark.

Diane Reckless

hey roark this is great! i want to know the story behind every person. when you get a chance, please tell me. cheers, diane


Roark, Great work!

I've been meaning to get in to large format photography, but haven't been happy with the digital end of things (I prefer to scan and inkjet print). Your scans look great. What type of scanner do you use?



What a fantastic body of work! I am struck by how many of the images seem to capture a little bit of the subjects soul. Something that, I assume, would otherwise be well hidden from the public in a big city like Chicago. I would really love to see the prints on display.

Solid Moments

Excellent idea and beautiful work.... Kudos for your courage.

Anonymous Swede

I love documentary photo. Truly amazing photos. All these people look beautiful, and you manage to find all kinds of them. It must take some guts stepping up to unknown persons and ask for permission to take a photo. I'm impressed. Your 2004 year documentation is priceless and people in the future will thank you. I hope you continue this mission and expand the treasure.


This is one of the coolest ideas (and execution) for a blog I've seen.


This is an amazing body of work. Your dedication is astounding. It raises many questions in my mind. I am curious about your interactions with these people. How do you ask them for their cooperation? Do many people refuse to have their portraits made? Do they request a copy of their picture? You must have many interesting stories about these interactions.

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