Paul D’Amato was raised in Boston during the civil rights movement, which shaped his interest in making work about class, community and the simple drama of everyday life. After completing his MFA at Yale University, he moved to Chicago, and in 1988 began to photograph the Mexican communities on the south side of the city in the Pilsen neighborhood. D’Amato’s photographs are immersive and sensitive; the relationships he built over the years are immediately apparent in the uninhibited expressions of his subjects. “Kids finding a way to cool down during a hot summer in a neighborhood composed completely of bricks, asphalt, and concrete is common,” explains D’Amato about this photograph, one of his most iconic images. “It’s just that some moments and gestures can appear surprisingly profound.” D’Amato was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1994, The Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship to Bellagio, Italy in 1998, and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Fellowship in 2002. His monographs include Barrio: Photographs from Chicago’s Pilsen and Little Village (University of Chicago Press, 2006) and more recently We Shall (DePaul Art Museum, 2013).
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