Description

Wayne Miller’s photographs chronicle a black Chicago of fifty years ago: the South Side community that burgeoned as thousands of African Americans, almost exclusively from the South, settled in the city during the Great Migration of the World War II years. Pictured here, a woman and her squatter’s shack on a cold winter day in 1948. It was built of cardboard and plywood on Lake Michigan’s beach.

I thought that if I could make photographs there, I might be able to get some insight into it … not as some sort of crusade on my part, but as a way of sharing how they thought, how they lived, how they felt, their viewpoint on the world around them

Wayne Miller
© Wayne Miller | Magnum Photos

Wayne Miller was born in Chicago in 1918. He studied banking and worked only part-time as a photographer, but during World War II, he became a member of Edward Steichen's U.S. Navy Combat Photo Unit.

After the war he settled in Chicago and worked as a freelancer. In 1946-48, he won two consecutive Guggenheim Fellowships and photographed African-Americans in the northern states. Miller taught photography at the Institute of Design in Chicago, then in 1949 moved to Orinda, California, and worked for Life until 1953. For the next two years he was Edward Steichen's assistant on the Museum of Modern Art's historic exhibit, The Family of Man.

A long-time member of the American Society of Magazine Photographers, he was named its chairman in the summer of 1954. He became a member of Magnum Photos in 1958, and served as its president from 1962 to 1966. His ambition throughout this period was, in his words, to 'photograph mankind and explain man to man'. Wayne passed away on May 22nd, 2013.

© Wayne Miller | Magnum Photos

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