Bob Benenson Photo Art
Capturing Chicago’s Beauty
About Bob Benenson
I am a career journalist whose photography hobby became a passion when my wife Barb and I moved to Chicago in 2011, after many years as frequent visitors. A political reporter and editor (for Congressional Quarterly) in Washington, D.C. for 30 years, I undertook a values-driven career change and became a Good Food movement advocate: I now serve as communications manager for FamilyFarmed, a Chicago nonprofit that works with farmers and food entrepreneurs to help expand a healthier, more environmentally sustainable and more economically dynamic food system. Among my duties, I manage the organization’s Good Food on Every Table website, for which I create most of the content (and, not surprisingly, do most of the photography).
City As Studio
I grew up in the New York City area, and though I attended college at Michigan State University, I had never been to Chicago before I met my future wife Barb — a farm girl from Peotone, Illinois, not far from the city — in 1980.
The striking beauty of both Chicago’s natural and man-made environments was a revelation when we first visited the next year. The grit of Carl Sandburg’s City of The Big Shoulders shaped my mental image of Chicago. So I was delighted, as we drove up from the south, to meet a very different Chicago. Lake Michigan sparkling on the right. Buckingham Fountain and Grant Park and the stunning skyline on the left.
We got off Lake Shore Drive and walked around Belmont Harbor. Years later, we look down on Belmont Harbor from our apartment.
It took 30 years after that first visit, but I moved here with Barb in June 2011 after a long journalism career in Washington, D.C. Little things can produce big changes, and we were fortunate to find a 30th floor apartment by the lake with a remarkable view.
In fact, because the south-facing apartment is in a line that extends from the side of the building, it affords a roughly 60-mile panoramic view from southwest Michigan and northwest Indiana across the lake, to the downtown skyline out to the western horizon. For six months each year, we get to watch the sun rise in the morning and set at night from our living room.
When I walked into that apartment, I thought, “I have got to get myself a good camera.” My hobby became a passion. Capturing the city’s beauty is my focus, from Lake Michigan to the skyscrapers, from the calm of North Pond to the sunrises and sunsets I enjoy from my living room.
Chicago is my studio. And my home.