About the Photographer
Kimmich Javier, John
American, b. 1950, Philadelphia, PA
For the Changing Chicago documentary project in the late 1980s, John Kimmich Javier photographed on the streets of the Loop, in the heart of the city. His pictures reflect the diversity of people who gather there, both in terms of their backgrounds and professions; but, "at the simplest level," as Kimmich Javier has stated, "the photographs are a record of passing time, a fraction of a second, in the ever-changing Chicago."
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.
Born in Philadelphia, Kimmich Javier received a BS in architectural studies from University of Illinois, Champaign (1973), then studied for a year at the Ecole Des Beaux Arts, Paris where he first began to make photographs. He later went on to earn an MA in photography from Purdue University Calumet, Hammond, Indiana (1978). From 1978 to 1986 Kimmich Javier taught at Columbia College Chicago, and since 1990 has taught at the University of Iowa’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. In addition to pursuing an interest in street photography and documentary projects, he has frequently photographed architecture and interior spaces.