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South Shore Madonna - Spring 2017

South Shore Madonna

A photographic meditation on encounters on a commuter train

 “My best work comes when I conjure up and capture my private experiences in relationship with my surrounding environs – be they my neighboring woods, travelers on a train, or crowds in San Marco Square in Venice."

                - Louise Belmont-Skinner                                                                                                          

These 30 photographic portraits reflect the artistic process of Louise Belmont-Skinner, who works as a museum exhibit designer in Chicago. After three decades of city living, she and her husband moved to rural northwest Indiana, and she began commuting daily on the South Shore commuter line. Using an iPad as her camera, she photographed women who traveled with her, observing them, imagining their stories, and creating these portraits.

Ms. Belmont Skinner grew up in New York City in the 1960s and has been photographing her surroundings since she first used a Brownie camera to take snapshots in Manhattan’s Chinatown on a high school field trip. She attended New York University and earned a BA in English and Art History. After moving to Colorado, she taught herself photography in western Colorado’s light-filled high desert. She later attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she continued her work in photography. Ms. Belmont-Skinner current work focuses on the seasonal life of the South Woods that border her home, especially the beech trees, which she wanders with her dog, Jenny.