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Arvella Grey, from the "Maxwell Street" series

  • Accession Number:
    1999:283
  • Artist:
    Seymour, Ronald
  • Date:
    1954
  • Medium:
    Gelatin silver print
  • Dimensions:
    image: 13 3/4 in x 13 1/4 in; paper: 19 3/4 in x 15 3/4 in
  • Credit Line:
    Gift of Susan Wunderlich

About the Photographer

Seymour, Ronald

In 1954, at the age of eighteen, Ronald Seymour took his Rolleicord twin lens reflex camera to Chicago’s historic Maxwell Street Market and made photographs of patrons, vendors and street performers while helping a friend’s uncle run a stand. Immersed in the street’s unique mix of classes and cultures, he captured interchanges among the many communities as they converged to shop and socialize. One of Chicago’s oldest and best-known markets, the Maxwell Street Market was razed and relocated in 2001 as the University of Illinois at Chicago expanded into the area. Seymour's images provide a slice of the market's rich culture and history and offer a glimpse of life on the city's Near West Side in the 1950s.

Son of noted celebrity photographer Maurice Seymour, Ronald Seymour grew up assisting his father in the studio. Before becoming a professional photographer, he studied mechanical and civil engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago and philosophy at Roosevelt University. He has worked and exhibited as a professional photographer for over forty years, working on major campaigns for some of Chicago’s largest advertising agencies. Seymour also taught workshops on the nude in photography at Columbia College Chicago from 1975 to 1999. His professional and personal work includes many genres, including portraiture, street photography, photojournalism, and landscape.