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Archie - Arlington House Cook, from Changing Chicago

  • Accession Number:
  • Artist:
    Cable, Wayne
  • Date:
  • Medium:
    Gelatin silver print
  • Dimensions:
    overall: 11 in x 14 in
  • Credit Line:
    Gift of Jack A. Jaffe, Focus/Infinity Fund


About the Photographer

Cable, Wayne

American, b. 1957

In 1981 Wayne Cable photographed for the first time at the Arlington House, a self-professed "retirement club" that was home to 120 older people, who were, in effect, living on the edges of society. He returned to the house in 1988 as part of the Changing Chicago documentary project, and found that many of the same residents were still there. Cable photographs depict this distinctive environment, what he describes as "the last vestige of another era," but his interests rest primarily in the people who live there and in the larger question of how people get to be the way they are.

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.

Cable studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Cranbrook Writer's Guild, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, before completing his BA at the University of Michigan. In 1982 he opened Cable Studios and began a career as a professional photographer, with a speciality in architectural photography.