There’s something different about Chicago at night. When the sun sets and the city lights up, Dave Jordano ventures out, driving around for hours at a time in search of subjects to photograph. Jordano trains his camera not on the glittering skyscrapers of the Loop but on regular neighborhood businesses that dot the city streets: the shops, restaurants, convenience stores, bars, and motels that give Chicago its unique charm. For Jordano, these establishments, beckoning with the warm glow of their retro signage against the night sky, aren’t just aesthetically interesting reminders of a bygone time — they are institutions of the neighborhood. “I don’t go to Macy’s and photograph,” Jordano says. “I love the little independent storefront operations and what they provide. These are important elements, I think, to how a city exists and how the whole fabric of the city comes together.” —Stanley Kay

Liberty Tax storefront

“Paint is a very cheap way of promoting your store. Like the ‘Buy, Sell, Trade & Fix’ in this photograph —  I love that. It’s original,” Jordano says. “When I first moved to Chicago, I lived at Armitage and Halsted, and it was a Hispanic neighborhood. There were signs like this all over. That’s all gone. They are transient, ephemeral. A lot of my pictures address that issue — about community and who lives there and why.”


Douglas Park Dollar & Food storefront

“When you look at the entrance of this store, it’s like, Wow, it could use some work. But it’s still existing and supplying goods and services to the neighborhood. I love the name —it’s just so basic. And I like that it’s attached to an apartment building with an entrance on the left that goes upstairs. All these things just tie the whole community together.”


O-Mi Motel storefront

“There are a bunch of little motels off Lincoln Avenue that are clustered together. They have been there for decades and are still surviving — they haven’t been torn down and huge condo buildings built in their place. That alone drew me to photograph some of these, because who knows how much longer they’re going to be there? There’s a historical aspect to a lot of what I photograph, because you never know.”


Yesterday storefront

“Yesterday was a comic book and nostalgia shop. It was so cool. It’s gone now. So much of what I photograph is probably not there anymore. These photographs are a tribute to all the independent shop owners who go to work every day and try to survive.”


Storage warehouse storefront


The Booze House storefront


Sim's Cleaners storefront



Damen Food & Liquor storefront


Wolfy's storefront


Royal Lounge storefront