About the Photographer
American, b. 1948
Lloyd DeGrane is a Chicago-based freelance photographer specializing in portraiture and location photography. He has also a number of documentary projects on subjects such as the prison system and the Americans' relationship with their lawns. For the Changing Chicago documentary project in the late 1980s, DeGrane photographed people watching television on Chicago's South Side, its southern suburbs, and the nearby areas of northwest Indiana. DeGrane states, "I feel like a pilgrim in search of a sacred object; in this case the TV set is the guiding light… I asked these people if I could 'stop over' during their favorite TV program. I watched them, for a while, then I stood up and walked around the room. I became the viewer of the TV watcher, and when the signal came in clear to me, I made my photograph."
One of the largest documentary photography projects ever organized in an American city, Changing Chicago commissioned thirty-three photographers to document life throughout Chicago's diverse urban and suburban neighborhoods. The project was launched in 1987 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the invention of photography and the 50th anniversary of the Farm Security Administration documentary project, which provides its inspirational model. Changing Chicago honors the tradition of the FSA project, but it moved away from its predecessor's ambition of inspiring social change towards the more general goal of providing a nuanced description of the human experience in a particular geographic area. Sponsored by the Focus/Infinity Fund of Chicago, the project was organized with the support of the Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Field Museum of Natural History, the Chicago Historical Society, and the Chicago Office of Fine Arts, Chicago Public Library Cultural Center. In the spring of 1989 the five institutions mounted concurrent exhibitions devoted to the project.