23 Years on the Street | The Reader's Guide Feature | Chicago Reader

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23 Years on the Street


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Photographer Richard Younker grew up in the kitchen of his father's downtown Chicago restaurant, watching and listening to the Irish, German, African-American, and Hispanic workers who made the place tick. As an adult, he used a camera to capture the people he saw, taking it into the city's ethnic neighborhoods and toughest streets. For Younker, this was a continuing revelation: he saw people's lives "etched into their faces" and says he heard poetry when they spoke. Over the last 25 years his work has appeared in local publications, including the Chicago Reader, and several books. Last fall the University of Illinois Press published a new collection of 85 photographs he took between 1973 and 1996, each accompanied by a short monologue--words that Younker says stuck in his head and fell into a natural cadence. His subjects are ward politicians and hustlers, truckers and bums, gamblers and gangbangers. Younker will show his work and talk about it on Monday, February 25, at 11 AM at the Nineteenth Century Women's Club, 178 Forest in Oak Park. Admission is $5, and an optional lunch following the talk is an additional $10. Call 708-386-2729 for lunch reservations.

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