About the Photographer
American, 1937 -2004
A significant figure in the field of panoramic photography, David Avison turned to the city's beaches during the dog days of summer for his contribution to the large-scale documentary project, Changing Chicago (1987-1988). Avison's vibrant color photographs depict the scope and density of the beach-going crowds, as well as their restless energy or languid activity. Meanwhile, Avison uses the panoramic format to trace the far-off horizon, accentuating the open expansiveness of Lake Michigan. Although the rush of activity and the density of details in Avison's beach pictures provide a comfortable point of entry to the series, the artist is interested also in what they reveal about the cultural climate in Chicago at the time they were taken. He observes how each beach has its own character and draws a different demographic—from groups of young adults at Oak Street Beach to Hispanic families at the northern Montrose Street Beach.
Avison received a Ph.D in physics from Brown University (1966) and taught physics for two years at Purdue University before taking up photography. He later completed an M.S. in photography at Institute of Design/Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago (1974). His work has been exhibited at the Illinois State Museum, Springfield, and the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as other venues, and it is held in the collections of the George Eastman House, Rochester, New York and Figge Art Museum, Davenport, Iowa.