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Distributed for DePaul Art Museum

We Shall

Photographs by Paul D’Amato

With Contributions by Gregory J. Harris and Cleophus J. Lee

In Barrio, photographer Paul D’Amato turned his lens to the largely Mexican-American Chicago neighborhoods of Pilsen and the Little Village, capturing their residents’ homes and lives in multifaceted, dynamic images of weddings and graffiti artists, street corners and empty lots, and the euphoria of fire hydrants turned would-be baptismal fonts in the blistering summer sun.
            With We Shall—a companion volume to the DePaul Art Museum exhibition of D’Amato’s photographs—D’Amato broadens his scope to include communities on Chicago’s west side. Through emotionally charged portraits and richly layered interior views, the fifty-four color photographs of We Shall share with us D’Amato’s genuine and complex perspective on life in some of the most challenging and troubled neighborhoods in the nation. D’Amato’s technique is unique. He works with his subjects to forge a collaborative approach, and the resulting portraits and urban landscapes offer a contemporary take on the complexities of documentary photography and representation, all the more real and evocative for the intimacy between the photographer and the photographed.
             Sometimes inspiring, sometimes troubling, but always beautiful, the photographs of We Shall shine light on some of Chicago’s most overlooked communities and are sure to captivate followers of Chicago-based art and urban photography alike.

102 pages | 47 color plates | 8 x 10

Art: Photography

View all books from DePaul Art Museum


“Just as the truth is spoken in jest, the way we sit for the camera both reveals and conceals. It’s indicative of how we really appear and how we wish to appear. And when you add to that what we as viewers bring to the photo—seeing it through our own lenses of what we know or think we know about that person and the factors that shape that life—looking at a portrait becomes a complex interaction. This truth seems inescapable when encountering ‘We Shall’. . . . Nearly a decade ago, D’Amato took his camera to the Chicago’s West Side, where he began photographing residents and the place they call home. For him, every encounter is a two-way street. . . . While D’Amato’s motive is more artistic than documentary, a creative act rather than social activism, he allows that these images can be more than pretty pictures.”

Thomas Connors, on the exhibition | Splash, Chicago Sun-Times

“Before he was President of the United States, the Illinois senator Barack Obama selected a suite of photographs by Paul D’Amato to hang in his congressional office. The images depicted scenes from the lives of regular people—a child, an old pastor—in Chicago, Obama’s hometown. . . . D’Amato pulls arresting shots from the difficult existence of a street prostitute or a single parent living in a slum, but most of his images build upon a narrative of uplifting personal and spiritual transformation, expressed by the exhibition’s title, ‘We Shall,’ which refers to a classic Civil Rights anthem but also to Paul the Apostle’s writings on the Resurrection. The images of churchgoers in their Sunday clothes, of baptism allegories in public pools, and of divine light shining into sitters’ eyes, heighten the motif of religious salvation.”

Photograph, on the exhibition

"This book of photos is excellent. No two ways about it."

Jonathan Blaustein | aPhotoEditor

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