Credit: Andrea Bauer

“Pilsen is a gold mine. Same thing with any place along a train line, especially the Green Line.”

Russ Long, a database programmer for Northern Trust, doesn’t offer much of an explanation as to how he became fixated on photographing bricked-up windows other than “I’ve always liked old, dilapidated buildings, specifically the windows,” but one thing’s for sure: His collection of over 1,200 photos proves dedication.

Though his eyes stay peeled outside the city—he’s photographed windows in Brooklyn and Minneapolis, for example—most of his collection has been shot right here. “I knew I needed hundreds of them once I got the idea to cover the entire wall,” he says. “I’ve done city bike trips that have pretty much covered all of Chicago.”

The wall itself holds around 400 of the photos, each housed in a four-by-six clip frame, but Long often moves photos around, creating a sort of ever-mutating art exhibit.

“The photos are removable, so it’s kind of interactive,” says Long. “If I notice a pattern developing, I’ll switch one out for another to keep the pattern going.”

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