Paul D’Amato

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

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.