“Jon’s work moves you deeply into the lives of those who are part of the forgotten America. those who have been living generation after generation under an oppressive system. [He shows us] The ones who, after centuries of democracy, are still fighting for basic human rights. During his photographic process, he immersed himself into the life of fragmented communities to give them a chance to scream to the world through his art.”
To see more of Lowenstein’s work, visit here. Below is Liste’s selection of Lowenstein’s photos, accompanied by some of Lowenstein’s own thoughts:
Youth Boxing at Taylor Park on 47th Street. At one time, this neighborhood was home to America’s largest public housing projects, the Robert Taylor Homes and Stateway Gardens, but they were dismantled during the past decade in the Chicago Housing Authorities Plan for Transformation. The dissolution of public housing has spread people throughout the South and West Side neighborhoods, and some people blame the surge in violence with the dislocation, but nobody really knows for sure. Boxing is seen as a positive outlet for young people as they try to navigate the challenging, dangerous and often deadly streets.
Just minutes after a double shooting, a man lies in an alley near the 7100 S. Rhodes block in the Grand Crossing neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. The shooting was in apparent retaliation to one that had happened the previous day.
In “Chi-Raq,” there is not one trauma unit despite the fact that the city leads the country in the number of homicides, with the majority occurring south of the Loop. As often happens with arrests, incarceration tends to ensue. As a result, more than 100,000 people go through the doors of Chicago’s Cook County Jail each year. However, many of these young men and women are blind to how the city’s methodical and systematic control of land, divides their neighborhoods into war zones. This, results in wars with each other, in a seemingly endless loop of “survival.”
Although the violence is consistently reported in the news, to understand what’s at stake we must look far deeper than the latest crime scene. It’s vital that we also show the immense waste of human potential that’s being lost with each violent act. While the violence that has spread to many of Chicago’s most economically depressed neighborhoods is in all ways real, the never ending focus on the violence obscures a larger and far more significant truth: The wholesale neglect has led to the practical destruction of these communities.
Hundreds of family and friends attended the funeral of 44-year-old Tania Gist at St. Andrew’s Temple in Englewood on Chicago’s South Side. Gist, who had survived another shooting in 1993, was shot and killed in the Roseland neighborhood. Her son, Denzell, who was 15 months old at the time, also was killed as he was cradled in her arms.
T-shirt memorial for three murder victims at Merrill Park in the Jeffrey Manor neighborhood. One of the victims was Janeen Hancock, who was shot and killed while watching her son play in the park.
A demonstrator who was beaten and arrested by the police lies bloodied on the pavement of Cermak Road on Chicago’s South Side after protesting the NATO Summit in 2012. The demonstrators had just finished a mostly peaceful march led by the Iraq Veterans Against the War when the protest turned into a more confrontational situation between police and the marchers. The situation had been brewing for a number of days as protesters from outside Chicago gathered to voice their displeasure for the actions of the North American Treaty Organization. The Chicago Police Department was joined by many other police forces from the surrounding area and states, including the Illinois State Police. Their numbers massed more than an estimated 1,000 officers throughout the area in anticipation of the planned event. The show of all-out force was arguably the largest witnessed in decades in the Windy City.
I have spent more than a decade documenting life on Chicago’s South Side and seen the impact on the community of the consistent and unending police presence in Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods, many of which exist less than a mile from where the NATO event took place. It was important to document this historic moment in which police and protesters clashed.
More In Sight: