Bernstein Show, Discussion to Examine Life in Chicago Today by Jon Lowenstein
“South Side,” the current exhibition in the Bernstein Gallery at the Woodrow Wilson School documents life in Chicago as it is revealed through the lens of documentary photographer Jon Lowenstein.
Mr. Lowenstein specializes in documentary photography that explores the consequences of power, poverty, and violence over time. In this exhibition, “South Side” examines the legacy of segregation, the impact of vast wealth inequality, and how de-industrialization and globalization play out on the ground in this section of Chicago.
The show opened at the start of this month. There will be a panel discussion and reception on Monday, November 24, from 4:30 to 6 p.m.
Through a combination of photography, experiential writing, personal testimonies, and short experimental films, the photographer has striven to achieve an unsparing clarity in revealing what life looks like today for the residents of Chicago’s South Side.
He has spent the last decade engaging with his adopted community by bearing witness to how people in underserved neighborhoods struggle to experience life’s joys and sorrows, when that life is fraught with significant poverty and a consistent lack of personal security. Such images — a block party, a prom dress, a funeral, an abandoned building soon to be demolished — are hauntingly elegiac. Lowenstein captures the interplay of innocence, hope, and beauty amid great economic deprivation and social isolation.
The son of a holocaust survivor who escaped Germany on the Kinder Transport, Mr. Lowenstein has spent the past decade recording the largest trans-national migration in U.S. history from Central America and Mexico to the United States and back. He has covered world shaping events that include elections in Afghanistan, the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and the recent civil unrest over Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri. He is a member and owner of NOOR Images, based in Amsterdam. He has received many awards, grants, and fellowships from, among others, the Open Society Foundation, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Alicia Patterson Foundation, the USC Annenberg Institute for Justice and Journalism, the National Press Photographers Association, World Press Photo, Getty Images, and POYi.
He is also a Hasselblad Master and a 2014 TED Senior Fellow. This year, the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University awarded him the 22nd Dorothea Lange–Paul Taylor Prize.
Mr. Lowenstein’s work has been seen in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Photo District News, The Daily Beast, Audubon Magazine, Verve, Scientific American, NBC News, and Orion.
The Woodrow Wilson School’s Bernstein Gallery and Annex are part of the Bernstein Lobby, dedicated in 1991 to the memory of Marver Bernstein, first dean of the Woodrow Wilson School, and his wife and collaborator, Sheva Bernstein. The space presents four to six exhibitions a year which stimulate thinking about contemporary policy issues ranging from human rights, world health, and education to war, national security, poverty, and politics.
“South Side: Photographs by Jon Lowenstein” is on view at the Bernstein Gallery through December 4.