The University of Chicago Magazine April 1996
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They may not be the Ritz-Carlton, but dormitories offer something more-a place to call home.

Photography by Lloyd DeGrane

The first night of his assignment to document U of C dormitory life, photographer Lloyd DeGrane arrived about 7 p.m. to find Burton-Judson Courts nearly empty. A lone student explained that most of the dorm's residents would be back around 10. "Or later."

Buoyed by afternoon naps, DeGrane gradually adjusted to the houses' night-owl rhythm. "The hours passed and no one even mentioned sleep," he says. "Then I'd head home and realize it was 2 a.m. and most of the city was in bed." DeGrane specializes in documenting interior lives. People watching TV were the subject of his 1988 book, Tuned In; an upcoming volume will look at life inside Stateville maximum-security prison near Joliet.

Belying any imagined comparisons between dormitories and penitentiaries, DeGrane notes that "Stateville's a very oppressive, depressing place. But in the dorms you sensed a contentment felt by most of the students...a feeling they'd found a place for themselves."

He hopes that what comes through most clearly in the photos-taken in Burton-Judson and Pierce dorms during winter quarter-is this special sense of place. "They show a time in life when people are willing to share and be open about their lives, before they settle into jobs and have two cars and a house in the suburbs-and close their doors." -T.A.O.

(Above) Something fishy: Tania Forte laughs at her guests' reactions as she serves "European-style" trout (head included). Forte and husband Sam Kaplan, left, host Friday dinners in their Pierce Hall apartment, where the two are resident heads.

"I borrowed your Hobbes": Sakina Shikari's B.J. door serves as a calling card, message board, and fashion statement.

More "Rooms with a view" Photos

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