Paul D’Amato

Lillian, New Covenant Church of Deliverance, Chicago, 2011
Lillian, New Covenant Church of Deliverance, Chicago, 2011
Ink jet print, 2011
Collection of the artist, courtesy Stephen Daiter Gallery, Chicago

I have no clever strategy for making these pictures, and I have no simple answers for what they mean. I’m a white photographer taking pictures in the west side of Chicago, a neighborhood that is African American and poor. I’m not supposed to be there. That’s part of the attraction; difference is inherently attractive and part of what got me started. When I’m there, however, when I’m visiting a family I know, or when I’m at the Original Providence Baptist Church, as I often am, or whether I’m simply stopping someone I’ve never met—I’d like to think that something more important, less superficial occurs. It varies from picture to picture. Maybe it’s about a kind of grace or beauty; maybe it’s about the pleasure of attention, or the desire to do something out of the ordinary like collaborating on a photograph.

Video Interview: 

Paul D'Amato, Commended Artist, Portrait Competition 2013

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