The first camera Bob ever purchased was in 1967 while in Hong Kong. He was serving in the Vietnam War and began taking photos in his down time. When he returned home from the war, he worked as an electrician and started taking photographs of nature and snow scenes. He then moved to Old Town in 1974, and immediately fell in love with the city. By living downtown, his interests in nature quickly switched to a more urban setting. It was here that he began taking photographs of all the landmarks and city views.
That summer in 1974, he started displaying his photographs at local art fairs around the city. Many of his customers requested that he take more aerials of Chicago which included the lakefront & the harbors. As this hobby continued to take up most of his day, he knew it was time to make a career changing decision. He quit his full time job as an electrician and decided to pursue his passion in life; taking photographs and making his work available to others. Bob's wife, Linda, also left her teaching job in order to pursue the opening of their first business.
Old Town Gallery
In 1982, the doors of Bob's first Chicago photo gallery were officially opened. The store was located in Old Town at 1446 North Wells. It was there that he began to gain more recognition for his work around town. Over the next 8 years, he saw his business grow as locals visited the gallery to purchase photographs as gifts or to decorate their offices and homes. In addition to selling photos, he began making Christmas cards with his own Chicago winter scenes and created a color calendar with Chicago images. In order to expand the business even further, he began wholesaling photos to a store in Water Tower Place which gave him even more exposure to new customers.
Bob Horsch's photos are a living archive of Chicago life and architecture.
Kathryn, 39 - (12/15)
Michigan Avenue Stores
210 North Michigan (Lake & Michigan)
In April of 1993, he took the business to new heights and moved the store to 210 North Michigan Avenue, just a block south of the Chicago River. The location was now in an ideal area to reach corporate clientele and many other customers in the downtown area. It also provided him with great exposure to thousands of people from around the U.S. and many international tourists who wanted to take a photo of Chicago home with them. In addition to this Michigan Avenue store, they opened a second gallery at Woodfield Mall but due to extremely long hours the store closed after only two years.
30 South Michigan (Monroe & Michigan)
In 1995, construction began on Michigan Avenue from Wacker to Lake Street and he decided to move to a new location on 30 South Michigan Avenue. Bob had been selling photographs there for around 13 years and watched Millennium Park develop into a world renowned park that attracts thousands of locals and tourists each year. The city itself changed dramatically since he first started taking photos.
He has captured everything from the blizzard of 1979 to the running of the LaSalle Bank Marathon. He has several aerial views of the city taken from many angles and great panoramic photographs of the city skyline. In the past four years, he started photographing the city with black and white film. This was mainly due to customers searching for contemporary artwork to decorate their homes and the ever increasing popularity in B&W photos.
To go along with the black & white theme, he created a 2006 calendar with his personal collection of photos. This B&W calendar was so popular that customers await for its arrival each year. He wholesaled the calendars to over 50 Hallmark stores and several other gift shops throughout the city and suburbs.
Chicago Sporting Events
In addition to Chicago scenes, Bob has been attending numerous Chicago sports events over the years to capture the action and excitement of the games. During the period from 1991-1998, he attended many Bulls games in order to shoot Michael Jordan and the rest of the Chicago Bulls team in action. He was very fortunate to be able to watch several NBA Championship games and celebrate the Bulls winning seasons with all the fans.
When the baseball season came around, he was always excited to get tickets in order to take photos of the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox ballparks. In addition to the numerous panoramic shots he has of each field, Bob also took aerial photos while flying high above the ballparks (a sight not everyone has the opportunity to see with their own eyes). He was there for the Cubs first night game on 8/8/88 and saw Old Comiskey being torn down as the new ballpark was being built next door.
In 2005, he continued to celebrate being a Chicago sports fan as the White Sox finally won their first World Series since 1917. In early 2007, he flew down to Miami to be at Super Bowl XLI to photograph the Chicago Bears playing the Indianapolis Colts. Unfortunately the Bears lost, but the experience was a memorable one, even if it was in the rain. He also has some great Bears photos of the Fog Bowl, the '85 Bears offense and defense in action, and aerials of the old and new Soldiers Field.
Over the years, Bob has been very fortunate to build great relationships with many businesses, customers, tourists, artists and fellow photographers. He was sad to say goodbye to the retail store on Feb. 29th 2008. It was just over 30 years since he opened the first gallery in Old Town and he felt it was time to put the retail business to rest.
He now continues to sell his artwork through HorschGallery.com as well as several local art fairs during the summer.
I want to thank all my loyal customers again for making my dream come true. I truly love the city of Chicago. It will always be exciting to photograph this ever changing city.