After spending June and July of 2012 taking hundreds of photographs throughout Chicago’s south side, I began to print and place those photos on the north side. I determine the placement by Chicago’s systematic address system, thus an image of 3500 S. Halsted would be placed at 3500 N. Halsted and so on. I then take an image of the north side location and combine the two into a diptych.
I learned so much about the south side by exploring it for this project. Though I can’t pretend to understand the lives of those who live on there, I understand now just how many misconceptions and assumptions I’d had about their neighborhoods before seeing things for myself. Warnings from roommates, friends, and the press had caused me to paint the south side as largely poor and dangerous. However, much of it proved to be, at least on the surface, perfectly safe. Middle class areas abounded and even poorer areas were never totally impoverished. Even amongst hardship, people seemed to be striving hard to keep their lives together and make things work.
I’ve always been unsettled by the idea that the majority of Chicagoans ignore and never experience the deep beauty, suffering, and humanity of the city’s south side. So, coming back to this project after two years in Japan, I’m excited to continue inserting the south side into the everyday lives of north siders.
To see other south side photos click here.