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About the Photographer
American, b. 1957
Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman began collaborating in 1978 while they were students at the Institute of Design in Chicago. Since then they have developed a range of photographic projects together, approaching collaboration as a form of conversation that allows for both argument and agreement. Much of their work has involved creating visual narratives around gender and subjects such as aging or rites of passage. Informing their various series are interests in psychological landscapes and the domestic world, and these ideas are present as well in their photographic survey of Chicago's suburban frontiers in the late 1980s, which they made for the Changing Chicago documentary project. "From Oakbrook to the Naperville corridor," they write, "up the Tri-state to Deerfield and down to Orland Park…we traveled along miles of strip architecture, subdivisions, and corporate corridors. In the unintentional minimalism and enforced uniformity, we saw a newly planted culture with its fundamental interests bared."
One of the largest documentary photography projects ever organized in an American city, Changing Chicago commissioned thirty-three photographers to document life throughout Chicago's diverse urban and suburban neighborhoods. The project was launched in 1987 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the invention of photography and the 50th anniversary of the Farm Security Administration documentary project, which provides its inspirational model. Changing Chicago honors the tradition of the FSA project, but it moved away from its predecessor's ambition of inspiring social change towards the more general goal of providing a nuanced description of the human experience in a particular geographic area. Sponsored by the Focus/Infinity Fund of Chicago, the project was organized with the support of the Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Field Museum of Natural History, the Chicago Historical Society, and the Chicago Office of Fine Arts, Chicago Public Library Cultural Center. In the spring of 1989 the five institutions mounted concurrent exhibitions devoted to the project.
Ciurej received her BS in Visual Design from the Insitute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago (1978). Lochman completed a BA at American University, Washington, D.C. and an MS in Visual Design at the Institute of Design (1977). They live and work in Chicago and Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, respectively.