Ghosts of Chicago

One of the things that happens to your brain when you've been blogging for a while is that you start to look at everything as a potential location for a photo shoot. That's not a bad thing, necessarily - I feel much more aware of my surroundings than I used to, before I was constantly evaluating them with an artistic eye - but it can desensitize you to the deeper meanings that might be attached to the location.

I ran afoul of this issue when I was taking the photos for this post. I love Halloween, and I want to spend the month of October gearing up for my favorite holiday. When I was looking for a location to shoot this outfit, I spotted this mural and decided it was perfect for my purposes.

So, here's a little backstory. The SS Eastland was a passenger ship that was based out of Chicago and worked the Chicago River and Great Lakes. In 1915, due to design flaws that made it dangerously top heavy, it rolled over while docked on the Chicago River, killing 844 people. It is the largest maritime disaster ever to happen on the Great Lakes. You can learn more about it here.

While I don't believe that this mural is an official memorial, it's still a place to commemorate the deaths of a lot of people. And the photos that I took, while not overtly sexy or in particularly poor taste, could still be construed as... kind of tacky, given the circumstances? I mean, it's not "smiling selfies at Auschwitz" level bad, but I'm still not totally comfortable with it.

I probably wouldn't have even thought about it, but people kept stopping and asking me about the mural while I was trying to take photos. I realized that I was uncomfortable with their scrutiny, and not just in the normal "people are watching me take photos of myself and that's weird" kind of way, but in the "wait, am I a bad person for taking photos here?" kind of way. I ended up only taking a handful of snaps before I called it quits.

And yet, as you may have noticed, I'm still using them. Well, yes. Ultimately, I decided that the photos weren't offensive or scandalous or anything, and any disrespect generated by presenting them without context could be negated by talking about the Eastland disaster. And, as Brian bluntly put it, "they've been dead for 100 years now. Who's going to be offended?"

Alright then. Moving on.

One of my big inspirations for fall has been a the 70s vibe that's having a moment in mainstream fashion, particularly the slightly gothic, witchy mode a la Stevie Nicks. This trumpet sleeved blouse seemed to fit that inspiration to a T. It's a great transitional piece for the not quite fall weather that we've been having lately, since it fits my mood but it still light and breezy enough not to give me heat stroke. While I never thought that I'd be a cutoffs kind of girl, I have to admit, these shorts were a real go to piece for me this summer - I felt like I could throw them on with anything and feel cute and comfortable and easygoing. I'd largely eschewed denim for the past few years, but I'm liking having it reappear in my wardrobe.

Ok, full disclosure - there are a few reasons why I decided to go ahead with this post and these photos, and the discussion that I hope it generates is one of them. The fact that my hair looks really good in them is another. Yeah, I'm that person.

And on that note, check out this awesome squirrel!

So, have you ever taken photos at a location that might be considered sensitive? Did you go ahead and use them, or did you leave them on your hard drive?

Happy October!

Top, Belt: H&M
Shorts: Levi's
Boots: Asos