Monthly Archives: February 2023

Art Photography: HIEROTOPY. Created Sacred Space & Its Paradigms. (15 Photos).

FEATURE Image: The Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago, 10915 S. Lemont Road, Lemont IL. Author’s photograph, 7/2017 5.75 mb 


Hierotopy derives from two Ancient Greek words meaning “Sacred Space” and in a specifically broad sense.

It is a term developed at the start of the 21st century by Alexei Lidov (b. 1959), a Russian art historian who specializes in Byzantium.

Hierotopy is the study of the creation and frequent re-creation of sacred spaces whose inter-disciplinary application extends to a vast array of media (i.e., images, shrines, architectural spaces, pilgrimage, song, incense, ritual, natural forces, such as light and darkness) as well as spans the areas of art history, archeology, cultural anthropology (diversity in social practice), ethnology (groups and culture), and religious studies.

What hierotopy is not is the study of the phenomenology of the sacred. Rather, it is a look at projects that express the sacred and the relationship of the sacred and the mundane. It is a universal language posited in a nearly infinite number of forms marked by creative human activity and expression.

As such, icons and other sacred artifacts, for example, are not seen only as isolated objects but as part of any wider project to express a wide scope of communication of the sacred and mundane. It is these projects themselves – including both their conceptual and artistic aspects, as well as the historical developments leading to their formation – which are the primary focus of hierotopic study.

In regard to this post of photographs, as hierotopy is the study of the creative direction of projects coordinating artists and specialists in shaping a unified and comprehensive vision of the relation of the sacred and mundane, these photographs are their own hierotopy project. In seeking to capture others’ creative projects in the communication of the sacred and mundane along with those embodied human interactions with or among them, each photographic image is its own original hierotopic project.

Hierotopic projects are not limited to churches and sanctuaries but can be landscapes, architectural compounds, and greater entities such as urban settings. While edifices and other macro-art and architecture are hiertopic, so are individual and simple yet equally powerful components such as the use of light in church architecture as well as sacred (including revealed religious and other) ceremonies, feasts, and folk customs.

While my photographs as a hiertopic project can include original sacred spaces which are those that appear as the result of a theophany (Ancient Greek meaning “appearance of a deity”) or a representative thereof, it can extend to its re-creation elsewhere, such as, popularly, a Lourdes grotto or Hindu prayer pole. Other hierotopic projects can involve less tangible ideas but look to express a higher order so that by way of the hierotopic project a common bond or experience on or towards such higher planes is manifested between the created sacred space and its human participant or beholder, such as, to start, the prayer labyrinth.

El Santuario/Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe of the Archdiocese of Chicago 1170 N. River Rd. Des Plaines, IL. 5/2018 7.89 mb 84% 
First Baptist Church, Kankakee County, IL 8/2017 6.63 mb
Moses, Mount Sinai, and the 10 Commandments Experience (The Shrine of Christ’s Passion) St. John, IN. 7/2017 4.83 mb
St. Edmund’s Church, 188 S. Oak Park Avenue, Oak Park, IL. 7/2015 7.84 mb 93%
Levere Temple, Sigma Alpha Epsilon National Headquarters, 1856 Sheridan Rd, Evanston, Il 10/2015. 30%.
The Sanctuary of the Divine Mercy, St. Stanislaus Kostka Church 1327 N. Noble Street, Chicago. 3/2013 1.58 mb
Corpus Christi Catholic Church, 4920 S. Martin Luther King Drive, Chicago. 10/2015 25%. After 120 years of service, the Bronzeville Catholic Church closed its doors for good in July 2021 as part of the archdiocesan consolidation plan,
Holy Innocents Church at 743 North Armour Street, Chicago. After 116 years of service, in 2021, the Chicago archdiocese combined Holy Innocents, St. Malachy + Precious Blood, and Santa Maria Addolorata to form the new parish, Blessed Maria Gabriella, 3/2013 1.74 mb
El Santuario/Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe of the Archdiocese of Chicago 1170 N. River Rd. Des Plaines, IL. 5/2018 3.65 mb
El Santuario/Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe of the Archdiocese of Chicago 1170 N. River Rd. Des Plaines, IL. 5/2018 5.02 mb
St. Edmund, Oak Park, IL. 9/2015 35%
St Bernadette. Cathédrale Saint-Cyr-et-Sainte-Julitte de Nevers, Nevers, France 1993 1.15 mb

(49 seconds). Police in Lourdes, France, interrogate 14-year-old Bernadette Soubirous following the 6th apparition (Feb. 21, 1858) at the grotto. From The Song of Bernadette (1943) starring Jennifer Jones for which Jones won the Academy Award that year for Best Actress.

Grotto. 10/2022 7.86 mb 63%
Field of Honor 2021 Colonial Flag Foundation, June 30 – July 4, 2021 Seven Gables Park, Wheaton, IL The event’s website claims: “This stirring display of 2,000 flags will bring the community together in a patriotic tribute to honor our heroes.” 7/2021 7.82 mb

Architecture & Design Photography: RIVER FOREST, Illinois. (17 Photos).

FEATURE image: 562 Keystone Avenue, River Forest, Illinois, is a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1909. It is an excellent example of Wright’s mature Prairie style including its original Prairie-style glass.

River Forest, Illinois is a suburb of Chicago in Cook County. River Forest is perhaps best known for its diversity of 19th and early 20th century American residential architecture. House designs and styles include those by Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) and others in the Prairie School. Nestled near the Des Plaines River to the west, along heritage lands of the Menominee, Chippewa and, later, Potowatomi Native American tribes, today River Forest is an affluent residential suburb closely tied to its adjacent neighbor to the east, the suburb of Oak Park, Illinois. These communities share several affinities including its high school, namely, Oak Park and River Forest High School that is in Oak Park and was founded in 1871. River Forest’s population today approaches 12,000 residents and the suburb is home of two universities, including Dominican University founded in 1848 and Concordia University Chicago founded in 1864. River Forest’s train station is on Metra’s Union Pacific/West Line with service into nearby downtown Chicago, about 12 miles away.

These are my photographs of some of the residential architectural highlights to be seen in River Forest and were taken in June 2022.

603 Edgewood Place, River Forest, Illinois, 1908, Frank Lloyd Wright. Known as the Isabel Roberts House, it was remodeled in the 1950s. 69% 7.99 mb
Frank Lloyd Wright in 1903, likely a self-portrait. Public Domain.
559 Edgewood Place, River Forest, Illinois, 1911, William Drummond (1876-1948). Drummond began his career working for architect Louis Sullivan (1856-1924). Working for Frank Lloyd Wright, Drummond became the chief draftsman for many of Wright’s well-known commissions. 89% 7.92mb
559 Edgewood Place, River Forest, Illinois, 1911, William Drummond.
560 Edgewood Place, River Forest, Illinois, 1910, William Drummond. 98% 7.89 mb
William Drummond about 1901. Drummond was born in New Jersey into a family in the building trades. He moved to Chicago as a boy and later studied architecture at the University of Illinois but didn’t finish. At 23 years old he joined Frank Lloyd Wright’s studio and became his chief draftsman. Drummond obtained his architect’s license in 1901 and, while working part time for Wright, worked full time for Richard E. Schmidt (1865-1958) in 1901 and 1902 and for Daniel H. Burnham (1846-1912) in 1903 to 1905. In 1905 Drummond returned to working full-time for Wright until 1909 when Drummond went into private practice. Public Domain.
511 Edgewood Place, River Forest, Illinois, 1858, architect unknown. This early Italianate house was moved to its present location in1880 from a few blocks away. 77% 7.86 mb
515 Auvergne Place, River Forest, Illinois, 1893, Frank Lloyd Wright. Known as the William H. Winslow House, this residence for an important industrialist is one of Wright’s earliest mature expressions of the Prairie style. 66% 7.90 mb
344 Keystone Avenue, River Forest, Illinois, 1870, architect unknown. Fine and grandiose example of the Italianate style. 95% 7.85 mb
517 Keystone Avenue, River Forest, Illinois, 1915, William Drummond. A simplified version of the expansive basic square house with a pitched roof and elaborated in the Prairie style.
530 Keystone Avenue, River Forest, Illinois, 1915, Robert Spencer (1864-1953). Robert Spencer was born in Milwaukee, studied engineering at the University of Wisconsin and architecture at M.I.T. He practiced in Boston, married, and studied in Europe. At his return he relocated to Chicago through Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge. In 1895 Spencer established his own firm and located in the Schiller Building next to Frank Lloyd Wright. In 1905 Spencer partnered with Chicagoan Horace S. Powers, who studied at today’s I.I.T. The partnership built this house in River Forest which is a fine brick example of the Prairie School within a traditional framework. 97% 7.85 mb
Robert Spencer (1864-1953). Unlike his slightly younger competitor, Frank Lloyd Wright, Spencer was a trained mechanical engineer and architect. Public Domain.


306 Keystone Avenue, River Forest, Illinois. A smaller second floor porch is fitted above the main ground entrance. 70% 7.90 mb.
236 Keystone Avenue, River Forest, Illinois. Corner tower, multi-level wrap-around front porch. 73% 7.92 mb
Row of late 19th/early 20th century houses, River Forest, Illinois. 78% 7.78 mb
136 Keystone Avenue, River Forest, Illinois. The facade’s design elements are complex with intricate details. 90% 7.80 mb
146 Keystone Avenue, River Forest, Illinois. Two big chimneys and a front porch swing makes for a timeless scene on a nice day. 90% 7.83 mb
558 Keystone Avenue, River Forest, Illinois, 1860, architect unknown, This is an excellent example of a large Victorian Gothic cottage. 82% 7.62 mb
Frank Lloyd Wright. Public Domain.
562 Keystone Avenue, River Forest, Illinois, 1909, Frank Lloyd Wright. The house’s projecting second-floor balcony and Prairie glass in a stucco surface is in evidence. 83% 7.93 mb.
562 Keystone Avenue, River Forest, Illinois, 1909, Frank Lloyd Wright. The house’s prominent hipped roof with its simple fascia and stuccoed soffits are evident. Wright’s house design is characterized by the early, mature restraint and discipline of the Prairie School. 75% 7.91 mb.


A Guide to Chicago’s Historic Suburbs on Wheels and on Foot, Ira J. Bach, Swallow Press/Ohio University Press, 1981, pp. 605-622. – retrieved February 1, 2023. – retrieved February 1, 2023