In the 1970s, American photographer Michael Abramson documented the nightlife of Black clubs on Chicago’s South Side and the underground funk/blues and early disco scene. It’s a celebration of the style and culture of a bygone era. As a white photographer working in black nightclubs, which was taboo at the time, Abramson was always welcome to photograph and became a functioning part of the club’s atmosphere, he gained recognition and respect for his photographs giving many of them away to the clubbers. He also embraced the sounds and the ambience of the nights. In his own words: “I had a ball”. This series entitled Tales from the South Side won Abramson a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1978 and launched his career as a photojournalist. Eventually the project resulted in a hardbound book, Light: On the South Side, the Grammy and Mojo nominated album, featuring Chicago blues as heard in the clubs from the stage and the jukebox.
Michael Abramson, Tales from the South Side – 1970’s Chicago Clubs
21 March – 5 May 2018
448 New Cross Rd
London SE14 6TY