Chicago Portraits

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Both my parents and I have sections of our bookshelves dedicated to a subject I'll call "Chicago Photography." I know as a kid (and as a not-so-kid) I loved poring through old pictures of the city and its residents, trying to imagine what kids from 60 or 100 years ago would think of today's world, whether the clothes from many generations ago would make the leap to 2014, what the streets would be like if they were still covered with dirt.

I'm glad I have these books because, thanks to Chicago newspapers letting go of a lot of their photographers, who knows what will become of photojournalism in this city. There is one more new book to add to your Chicago Photography collection, however, and it's called Chicago Portraits, with photos curated from the Tribune's photography directors. Instead of scenes from the city, it's made up of the images of people who have formed it over the decades.

Here are a couple of my favorites:

WINFREY-OPRAH_web.jpgThis is Oprah, circa 1984, when she was the host of a show called "AM Chicago." I love her natural hair and her wrinkled stockings and how despite the dated clothes, her face looks pretty much exactly the same as it does today, 30 years later.

HANSON-MURPHY_web.jpgThese happy boys are Robert Hanson and Edward Murphy, shot in 1942 after caught/rescued from a ceiling fan vent after sneaking into a movie theater to catch a show for free. You know how sometimes you think about how much more innocent the days were for kids in the olden days, how much freer? It also meant doing things like this (if someone had turned on the fan they were hiding inside, they could have been chopped up.) This also serves to remind me to put a leash on my son when he gets old enough for this kind of stuff. (Also, their entwined arms are pretty sweet.)

Finally, this is Helen Lambin, shot in 2010 in Edgewater (where I live!) According to the book's caption, she "feared growing old gracefully," so she got all these bright, gorgeous tattoos. I have to say, I might steal this idea in 40 years. Instead of getting tattoos now and watching them fade and stretch over time, I like the idea of getting them in my older years (if my arms are still sightly) and having them be fresh and beautiful and living off the rep of "cool old lady" (even if I'm not really that cool.)

Image credits: Chicago Tribune photograph for one-time use only in conjunction with reviews or coverage of Chicago Portraits by Agate Publishing and the Chicago Tribune.