For Niles gallery owner, image is everything
Simon Perutz, of Shot Images, holds a photo from "Michael Ward's Britain" exhibit at the Niles business July 23. Perutz is holding an image of Queen Elizabeth. | Buzz Orr~Sun-Times Media
NAME: Shot Images
SPECIALTY: Contemporary-photography gallery
ADDRESS: 7430 N. Lehigh Ave.
CONTACT: (847) 507-9415
Updated: October 1, 2012 1:30AM
NILES — Simon Perutz has always been passionate about photography, so when the opportunity came up to open his own gallery, a flash bulb went off and his future came into focus.
Shot Images, a 6,000-square-foot contemporary-photography gallery is located at 7430 N. Lehigh Ave. in Niles.
Perutz has been the president of Nimlok, a trade-show-display business, for about 30 years and a couple of years ago he opened Shot Images in the same building.
“I’ve always had a love of photography,” said Perutz, who grew up in London and moved to the United States in the 1970s, attending Northwestern University and studying economics.
Perutz said his daughters are artists who live in London and New York, and he has had the opportunity to meet several talented young artists through his girls. These connections led him to open Shot Images.
“I really wanted to help these emerging photographers,” Perutz said.
Perutz said he is able to use the high-end digital-printing equipment also used at Nimlok, allowing him to create large versions of artists’ photography.
“I can put on a show with large-format photography fairly inexpensively,” Perutz said. “It’s a win-win for everybody.”
Some of the photographs in the gallery are 4 feet wide by 7 feet tall, or larger.
“They just look unbelievable,” Perutz said.
The gallery holds three to four shows each year. Recently the business worked with Alternative, a youth center in the city, and displayed photographs of the Chicago el train — and the environment and culture surrounding it — taken by nine photographers from the youth center. The show, which was a fundraiser for Alternative, revealed how the city’s rail system has influenced their lives. The money raised from the exhibition went toward after-school creative programs and young, urban, aspiring photographers had the opportunity to display their work.
The current show displays the photography of a family friend of Perutz, Michael Ward, who died last year. Ward was a photographer for the London Sunday Times for 30 years and one day his wife found thousands of photographs of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, politicians and actors from the 1960s and 1970s.
“It’s attracted lots of different types of exhibitions,” Perutz said of Shot Images.
The company encourages artists to experiment with new materials and processes by printing on wood, metal and Plexiglass. The current show will be back in September and then a new exhibition featuring Chicago Portraits will begin.
Perutz said his passion for photography is what drives his business.
“It’s really for the love of it rather than strictly a commercial enterprise,” Perutz said.
Shot Images is located in a light industrial area in Niles and its stated goal is to provide a personal, intimate atmosphere for patrons.