About the Photographer
American, b. 1945
For her contribution to the Changing Chicago documentary project in the late 1980s, Kathleen Collins photographed workers in the city's industrial sectors, creating individual portraits that collectively give shape to a broader view of the industrial workplace. Collins writes, "The details—expression and stance, how the clothes hang, dirt and grim, and the element of the immediate environment—reveal a personal history.… [Meanwhile] in the midst of the repetitive activity of work, a remarkable drama is constantly unfolding. These photographs are meant to be not only a document but a description of that drama as expressed through each player."
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.
Kathleen Collins completed a BA in Psychology at Stanford University (1967) and an MA in Fine Arts at Rochester Institute of Technology (1978).