About the Photographer
American, b. 1945
For the Changing Chicago documentary project in the late 1980s, Richard Younker photographed in various neighborhoods in Chicago, highlighting interactions between neighbors, friends and relatives. The particular settings for his photographs range from social events to places of work and worship.
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 Chicago, Richard Younker completed a BA in psychology at the University of Chicago (1964). A self-taught photographer, he began working as a freelance photojournalist in 1974. He has gone on to complete photodocumentary book projects about commercial fishermen on the Mississippi River and the working-class residents of Chicago, among other subjects.