DePaul Art Museum > Exhibitions > We Shall: Photographs by Paul D'Amato

We Shall: Photographs by Paul D'Amato

September 12 – November 24, 2013​

Paul D’Amato’s striking photographs ask provocative questions about race, class, and the dynamics between photographer and subject. For the past decade, D’Amato has chronicled the lives of ordinary people living in some of Chicago’s African American communities on the West Side and in Cabrini-Green. His subtle portraits, made in collaboration with his subjects, explore nuances of character, while his studies of the built environment reveal similarly intimate social and political histories. Equally committed to his craft and to immersing himself in the community, D’Amato aspires to narrow the divide between his and his sitters’ subjective experiences in order to create photographs that are at once genuine and aesthetically engaging. Without shying away from the challenges of representation or succumbing to sentimentality, these images convey the circumstances of everyday life in a community that is both economically and socially marginalized. D’Amato’s photographs ask much of their viewers: they refuse to provide all of the answers but instead embrace an aesthetic and poignant complexity that allows us to experience things we may not fully understand. They invite us to bring our own social imaginations to bear on the issues they raise, the stories they tell, and the emotions they elicit.

This exhibition is supported by generous grants from the David C. and Sarajean Ruttenberg Arts Foundation and the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. The prints were made during a residency at Latitude, an open digital lab in Chicago.