Chicago has long been infamous for gang culture and crime, from Al Capone to the present day the second city has often been riddled with violence and fear. But what can sometimes be missed is the humanity between those flashing moments of infamy.
One such place which battled this juxtaposing seem which tied up the city was the Tri-Taylor neighbourhood. Located on Chicago’s Near West Side the area was famed for its gang culture which existed not only in the wealth of poverty but in the throes of gang turbulence.
In 1971, just a short time before the area was due to be demolished one man took his camera around the dangerous streets and captured is joy, its despair, and its life.
Lou Fourcher was a graduate student in 1971 as he took to the streets armed with his camera while participating in the University of Illinois-Chicago’s Valley Project. His son, Mike, reported to Lee Bey: “He was a fish out of water in this neighbourhood,” Flashbak points out. “He told me many times that he got most of the pictures because he managed to talk a local gang leader into walking him around. I think the work he did at the clinic, the Valley Project, was an inspiration for him, since he later went on to run non-profit health , like Erie Family Health Center in Humboldt Park and New City Health Center in Englewood.”
Take a look at some revealing images of an area that most people would know as simply ‘The Valley’.