Filter Photo is pleased to present a two-person exhibition featuring compelling new projects by Karen Connell and Frank Ishman.

Karen Connell’s project, The Personals Ads, is based on an advertisement she placed in The Village Voice, NYC in 2000 under “Women Seeking Men”.

It read:

Princess Buttercup seeking her Westleigh. I, too, have long, golden hair and have been captured by too many unsavory men. Be my hero and save me from such fate.

Princess Buttercup and Westleigh are two characters from a novel and subsequent movie, The Princess Bride, by William Goldman. It is a humorous take on the heteronormative fairy tale format. Connell advances this familiar narrative by providing a framework for people to express what they might be looking for in a potential mate/pairing.

Twelve men called in response to her ad and she recorded their messages. Listening to their voices, Connell conjured up images of what she thought they might look like based on how they described themselves but also very much based on her cultural background, experiences, and biases. She then drew the men using law enforcement software that is used for witnesses in identifying suspected criminals. Using the software’s limited bank of facial elements and with her own, admittedly, biased image bank, she constructed multiple drawings, finally settling on a composite. With the use of video layering, the viewer watches Connell’s stereotyping play out as she constructs the men’s images over time, never fully satisfied with the end result of a mental image of a man she has never seen.

In Frank Ishman’s project, The B-Sides, he films minorities in silhouette who have not subscribed to the normal stereotypical activities of their race/cultural background finishing with a frontal reveal to the camera.

The B-side of a track is considered to be the less important side of the album, the side one doesn’t necessarily have to listen to in order to decide whether or not to like the album. The B-side, though, is how people will judge the entire album if they don’t like the tracks.

Ishman says, “The B-Sides constantly play in my head, the second side to the personal album of my life. The A-Side of this album is the glossy, heavily mastered tracks that I present to the world every day. I know as soon as the album is turned over to the B-Sides, my color, speech, education and perceived financial status all come into play.

The B-Sides is a quick glimpse into my head and my thought process. The comments in the accompanying video are mere fragments of past events, words individuals have said to me in Chicago and things I’ve overheard throughout my life. As proud as I am of the entire “Album” the B-Sides haunt me every day.”

Exhibition Dates: June 2 – July 22, 2017
Opening Reception: June 2 | 6pm – 9pm
Location: Filter Space 1821 W. Hubbard St., Ste. 207
Gallery Hours: Monday – Saturday 11am – 5pm

Filter Photo is proud to acknowledge the support of the David C. & Sarajean Ruttenberg Arts Foundation and a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events in producing this exhibition.

Filter Fundraiser


Join us April 19 at The Boarding House at 5:30pm for a Cocktail Reception and Print Raffle supporting Filter Photo’s new year-round workshop program.

We are thrilled to be raffling off some amazing photographs by Carol Erb, Alice Hargrave, Frank Ishman, Dave Jordano, Barbara Karant, Larson:Shindelman, Noritaka Minami, Ken Rosenthal, Aline Smithson and Kimberly Witham.  Click on the images below for more info about the artists.

Your ticket includes two cocktails.  You can purchase raffle tickets online that will be waiting for you at the door.  Raffle tickets can also be purchased at the event.  Winners will be announced at 8 pm and you must be present to win!

Filter Photo is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Your support is important to us and allows us to continue to offer exceptional programs to the photography community.

Please join us for the Reception, purchase raffle tickets, or make a donation online today.

 – Kissy, Sierra Leone, 2006
30 x 30 inches, AP

50x50 DCASE Show

50x50 Invitational / The Subject is Chicago: People, Places, Possibilities

Six distinguished artists and curators, Miguel Aguilar, Janice Bond, Jesse Lee Cochran, Tempestt Hazel, Nicole Marroquin and Tricia Van Eck selected one artist from each of Chicago’s fifty wards, in order to engage a broad cross-section of Chicago artists, few of whom have exhibited previously at the Chicago Cultural Center. The exhibition yielded works in painting, drawing, video, photography, sculpture and design, and demonstrates the diverse perspectives on life in Chicago.

Exhibiting Artists

  • Alberto Aguilar
  • Paola Aguirre & Sara Pooley
  • Hana L. Anderson
  • Nikki Anderson
  • Rene Arceo
  • Doris Barnes
  • Philip Berkman
  • Christine Bespalec-Davis
  • Iwona Biedermann
  • Rose Blouin
  • William Camargo
  • Vanessa Chambers with Terrance Butler & Pearlina Freeman
  • Derrick Collins
  • Meg Duguid
  • Bill Eller
  • Terry Evans
  • Victoria Fuller
  • Stacey Lee Gee
  • Yhelena & Michael Hall
  • Eric Hotchkiss
  • Industry of the Ordinary (Adam Brooks & Mathew Wilson
  • Frank Ishman
  • Tonika Johnson
  • Barbara Karant
  • Mariah Karson
  •  Sam Kirk
  • Jenny Lam
  • Jeff Lassahn
  • Jin Lee
  • Sandra Leonard
  • Anthony Lewellen
  • Norman Long
  • Yvette Mayorga
  • Monica Rezman
  • Justus Roe
  • Cassie Rogala
  • Missy Rosa
  • Matthew Schlagbaum
  • Alyssa Schukar
  • Cecilia Sulkowski (City Alive Art)
  • Leonard Suryajaya
  • Connie Toebe
  • Joanne Vena
  • Rafael E. Vera
  • Everett Williams
  • Fo Wilson & Joelle Mercedes
  • Sadie Woods
  • Derrick Woods-Morrow
  • Marvin Young
  • Yuge Zhou & Stephen Farrell

Design Bureau

The Inspiration Issue | Frank Ishman


Interview by Kristin Larson
Photography by Frank Ishman

For photographer Frank Ishman, reflection is an integral part of his creative process. In many ways, it drives his creative process. Whether he’s reflecting on his childhood memories of watching Taxi  while shooting a portrait of Danny DeVito, or he’s focusing on putting the camera down and connecting with his subject, reflection is a constant thread that runs throughout Ishman’s work. Here, in words and images, are his reflections—on his childhood, his profession, his city, and himself.

The portrait of Danny  DeVito. There’s something about his character. I automatically reflected on the days when I was young, waiting for my mother to get off work and staying up late to watch Taxi. Feeling relaxed and at home is important to me regardless of which side of the camera you’re on. 

This is Danny Simmons, a great art collector/curator and gallery owner in New York. His youthful curisoity inspires me, and it’s that presence of mind that I hope never leaves me. I always want to be a kid at heart.

“One of the reasons why I paired the shot I took with Ben Stiller with an old contact sheet from when I was a child actor is because of my love of the square Hasselblad format. 80 percent of my images today are shot on a Hasselblad. Every time I take a portrait, I think back to all those great times being in front of the camera and try to make sure my subjects enjoy the process as much as I did growing up.”

Arc Gallery

Home:  (hom) n. 1. One’s dwelling place; abode of one’s family.  A place where one flourishes, is most typically found or originates w. One’s abode after death; the grave.  3. The abiding place of one’s affection, esp. domestic affections.  4. Ones native land or place.  6.  The social unit or center formed by a family living together.Opening Reception: Friday, December 2, 6-9pmimage by Newbold BohemiaJurors’ choices–   Best in Show: Frank Ishman                Honorable Mentions: Kathleen Eaton, Ellen Freyer, Karen Musgrave, Zhiyuan Yang Featured Artists: Elisabeth Blanchet, Newbold Bohemia, Suzette Bross, Payton Cook, Amber Crabbe, Adrienne Der Marderosian, Kathleen Eaton, Lisa Foote, Anitra Frazier, Ellen Freyer, Peggy Gentleman, Ana Maria Gonzalez, Frank Ishman, Josiane Keller, Eintzi Korona, Melissa Kreider, Judy Langston, K. A. Letts, Carol Luc, Shi Mei, Laura Migliorino, Karen Musgrave, Sara Allen Prigodich, Chelsea Reeck, Kathleen Rogers, Inbar Rothschild, John Seubert, Erina Shibata, Sally Schluter Tardella, Keith Thomson, Louafi Valentine, Duat Vu, Matthew Weseley, Nancy Wickum, Tommy Wilson and Zhiyuan Yang ————————————————————————————————————————————–This juried exhibition investigates how home is perceived in a variety of contemporary contexts.  Homelessness, routine eviction, migrant work, and the refugee crisis all affect our understanding of home.  This exhibition seeks to explore the concept of home in light of these current international and domestic contexts.  What does the concept of home mean for the individual and community?  This investigation includes, but is not limited to, artistic inquiries of social and cultural identity, economic and political status, gender identity , and ethnic and/or religious heritage.JURORS:Trevor Martin serves as Director of Exhibitions and Associate Curator at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. A multi-media artist, he is also a lecturer in the School’s performance department. Associated with SAIC since 1998, Martin has lead projects that bridge education and creative research involving guest artists, faculty, and students and organized numerous exhibitions around performance and multi-media work.Asha Veal Brisebois, a graduate student in art administration and policy student at School of the Art Institute Chicago, will serve as co-juror with Mr. Martin, as part of ARC’s educational and mentoring program initiatives.

Usable Space

LIGHT will pack up and make room for the next installation at USABLE SPACE.
Bring something to grill or drink if you like.
At dusk “A Fault” by Wes Tank, Barry Clark and Adam Carr will do its first screening.

“A Fault” is a film based on an album of the same title by electronic musician Barry Paul Clark (adoptahighway), using Milwaukee landscapes as visual metaphors for psychological states experienced during the creative process. Director Wes Tank (WC TANK) and location spirit guide Adam Carr (Milwaukier Than Thou) explored the city with Clark, letting the music ask questions and the city give answers.  

LIGHT Curated by Nina Bednarski, asking participants to consider this:
Light…radiates at a higher vibration than darkness. In contrast to dark, it can be seen more clearly. Examine the property of light, literally as a spiritual concept or as a constant force required for all life on earth. Experience with light, following or striving for lightness, start where you are.
Participating artists include:
Demitra Copoulos, Santiago Cucullo, Charles Dwyer, Frank Ishman, Craig Grabhorn, Shane McAdams, Todd Mrozinski Zachary Rueter, Rafeal Francisco Salas, Serena Weits, Wes Tank, and Nina Bednarski

Root Hill Interview

Interview with photographer Frank Ishman

Over the past month we have had the honor of showing ‘Visibility’ from international photographer Frank Ishman. Frank has worked for a wide variety of clients such as: Paramount Motion Pictures, Flux Magazine, International Rescue Committee, American Cancer Society, Bank of America and JDC. Frank’s style has a very unique quality that somehow transcends the flatness of a 2D medium. He illustrates the emotional state of his subjects and then compels the viewer to identify with it. We had the pleasure of talking to Frank about ‘Visibility’, his travels, and how he captures his art.

Can you tell us about ‘Visibility’ now up at Root Hill Cafe?[It’s] Redondo Beach, California. I was out there showing my book and going to meetings, [while] staying with a friend. One thing I had to do [for my friend] was walk his dog. I got up in the morning and tried to figure out where I was taking the dog. The first few times I went out it was later in the day, so it didn’t really look like those images [from ‘Visibility’]. One morning I got up really early…went down to a pier and there was this magical sort of thing happening. So, I ran the dog back to the house and grabbed my camera…. And then started shooting. For four days after that I took pictures every morning. It’s this, sort of, reveal from every single day; as the fog opened up, I’d see something different…. It was really organic, and it just happened.
How did you arrive at the title for the series?Initially it was walking into perfect lighting conditions; not necessarily with perfect backgrounds…. [T]he atmosphere and mother nature kind of showed me what it wanted me to see. I really wasn’t seeking anything out. I shot images where it was completely clouded over…and you couldn’t see anything through the fog…. But then, I shot some where it was just perfect. I’d look one way, but it wouldn’t work, and then turn and it would be like “that’s it!”  Everyday certain things were visible and certain things weren’t. That’s where the title came from…’Visibility’. It’s kind of turned into something I want to do in Detroit, Boston, [and] Atlanta. …[I’ll] go out in the morning or at night just when it’s dark… and capture what can kind of be seen.

How do you get your shots? I usually see the shot before I put the camera up to my eye…. I want to take the picture fast enough so I can get what I am seeing, even if it’s a guesstimate of what I think is going to happen. I feel a rush playing ‘beat the clock’. I can kind of see a scene unfold and it’s like (hand gestures taking a photo) I need to be there for it….  It was magical in a sense that the first two images [in ‘Visibility’] were kind of unexpected. It’s the world of digital, you know…you don’t have to go to a lab to process. I immediately saw the image on the screen, and I started working backwards…. I see shots left and right. I don’t really stop and think about exposure. I just pick [the camera] up and know this feels ‘more silhouetted’ or ‘this feels more open’ or ‘this could be a good exposure…and it just happens.
What do you shoot with? For [‘Visibility’] I shot with LEICA digital M8. I also shoot with Hasselblad with digital back; I shoot with a 4 x 5 with a digital back…I shoot with everything really. The newest one I shoot with is a Fuji X100. 
You seem to travel a lot. Where do you like shooting the most? India and Ireland. I lived in India for a year. Lived in London for three years, but went to Ireland a bit…. When I look now at [‘Visibility’], it kind of looks like Ring of Kerry or around that area…. Although the pallette of the places that I love has little to do with what I shoot…. I would say the influences are more personal.  It’s that initial feeling I get from a shot or it’s something I’ve read or seen…. It’s a feeling [that] I try to capture.

Brooklyn Dreamers

2006 Summer Bash
July 12, 2006
Our inaugural Summer Bash exhibited photography by local Brooklyn artists, and took place at Pochron Studios in DUMBO, Brooklyn, overlooking the East River and Brooklyn Bridge.

Modern Luxury - Men of Style

Men of Style

By Chandler Rollins, Sarah Ryan, Lisa Shames and David Zivan | Photo: Quinn Wharton | Shot on location at RH Chicago, The Gallery at the Three Arts Club | Styled by Elizabeth Margulis | April 6, 2016 

Whether it’s running one of the most luxurious hotels in the world, brokering multimillion-dollar real estate deals or operating award-winning restaurants, this year’s gentlemen show us that sartorial success can only be achieved with individuality, confidence and a commitment to quality.

Using Format