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Michael L. Abramson’s Vintage Photos Capture Nightlife of South Side Chicago in the 70’s

Neil Patrick

 

Chicago’s South Side in the 1970’s was unlike any other scene in history. It was a great place to be at a great time. And we have Michael L. Abramson’s vintage photos as testament of this.

The place gathered the finest crowd from around the world who look to enjoy drinks, ambiance and soulful music of the era from the pioneers and masters themselves. Many would vie to step foot into nightclubs of the area to be included in the social scene. Famous blues clubs during the time such as Pepper’s Hideout, Perv’s House and High Chaparral were filled with people dancing and relaxing in what was to be a rich cultural moment.

Those who survived to tell the great tale of the era from Chicago’s South Side could only reminisce. The generation of today and the future generations have the famous Chicago photographer Michael L. Abramson to thank for capturing the social scene of the 70’s in his amazing vintage photos.

 

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1976, Perv’s House South Side Chicago

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To Abramson, photographing the South Side was part of his compliance to a school project in Illinois Institute of Technology. He did not expect the photos would open the windows to many art opportunities and awards starting with a grant from the the National Endowment of the Arts. From there, his career just went to soaring heights. He is often compared to French photographer Brassai who took photos of Parisian nightlife in the 1920’s and 1930’s. To us, it was history recorded in film and print.

Some of Michael L. Abramson’s vintage photos became the highlight of two LP set Light on the South Side (2009) which featured blues music. The exhibition also received a Grammy nomination. And the public now has the chance to view these rare vintage photos through an exhibition by the Museum of Contemporary Photography and the Columbia College Chicago Library.

The said exhibition of vintage photos, dubbed as Pulse of the Night, was organized as a tribute to the photographer following his death three years ago at the age of 62. The exhibition is one of the biggest of Michael L. Abramson’s great works.