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Untitled, from Changing Chicago

  • Accession Number:
  • Artist:
    Newberry, James
  • Date:
  • Medium:
    Chromogenic development print
  • Dimensions:
    paper: 11 in x 14 in
  • Credit Line:
    Gift of Jack A. Jaffe, Focus/Infinity Fund


About the Photographer

Newberry, James

American, 1937-2021

Born in Indianapolis, Newberry recieved a BS and an MS from the Institute of Design, at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago (1967, 1973). His early photographs were a series of nudes, in which the figure was often portrayed within the context of the natural landscape. In the late 1980s, Newberry was invited to participate in the Changing Chicago documentary project, for which he completed a photographic series about the city's immigrants. Working in color with a medium-format camera, Newberry made portraits of immigrants from numerous differnt countries, who variously posed for him in their homes, workplaces, or places of worship.

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.

He was the founding chairperson of the department of photography at Columbia College Chicago, where he taught from 1967 to 1975. He has also taught at East Texas State University (now Texas A&M University-Commerce), and Collin County Community College in McKinney, Texas.