About the Photographer
American, b. 1956
Paul D'Amato draws on the tradition of street photography and the history of painting to create color photographs of urban human drama. Attracted to what he terms "the vividness of emotion," D'Amato has photographed extensively in diverse ethnic communities of Chicago, including neighborhoods that make up the second largest Mexican population in the United States. The raw emotion of the child captured in Girl in Shopping Cart, Chicago is a testament to D'Amato's success in conveying the passion of the moment. In another series, D'Amato documents the American communal institution of men's social clubs. These are not the urban elitist institutions of the nineteenth century, rather his subjects range from cribbage players to men at a bathhouse in South Boston to a weekly meeting at the American Legion in Malden, Massachusetts. These pictures portray elderly men engaged in these social activities while the absence of younger men hints that this may be the twilight hour of these once-defining American institutions. His most recent series, Lake Street, documents the transitions and connections between many immigrant communities along one major Chicago thoroughfare.
Paul D'Amato was born in Boston in 1956 and graduated from Reed College, Oregon (BA, 1980) and Yale University School of Art (MFA, 1985). His photographs have earned him numerous prestigious awards, including a grant from the Rockefeller Study Center in Bellagio, Italy, and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. D'Amato's photographs have appeared in Harper's Magazine, Life, and Utne Reader. Barrio, his series of photographs taken in Chicago's Mexican neighborhoods, was featured in DoubleTake and The Chicago Tribune Magazine. His work is in many significant collections and has been included in exhibitions at the Directors Guild, Los Angeles; Grand Central Station, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Northlight Gallery, Arizona State University; Tempe; Photographic Resource Center, Boston; and Portland Museum of Art, Portland, Maine. The Museum of Contemporary Photography presented a solo exhibition of D'Amato's men's club photographs in 2002. He is an associate professor of photography at Columbia College Chicago.