Words by Evan La Ruffa
As a curator, it’s incredibly fun to pair, offset, correlate, connect. That being said, I rarely like being so singularly focused on my own relation to the artwork, or in this case, photography, that I pigeonhole everyone else’s experience. With polemical images like these, there’s an inherent absence, a strain. Even so, being that the closing of public schools in Chicago is a highly polarizing issue, the opinions are intense, and often diametrically opposed.
One person sees utter destruction, a whole group of people forgotten, a tacit turning of our collective back on a big chunk of our countries’ children. Others see a wasteland that should have been left long ago; good riddance, essentially.
While I could write multiple pages about what opinion looks more like my own, featuring Bill Healy’s work is about the potency of the image, no matter what side of the line you come down on. Aesthetically, patina, rust, wear, texture – these are all things that make images interesting, and Bill has captured all of those so well in these shots of all 50 of the recently closed CPS locations.
Bill and I met at St. Ignatius College Prep, and he’s since created a breadth of incredible journalistic work for WBEZ and National Public Radio. His photos of Auburn Gresham, LGBT Youth, Harper High School, criminal justice, american poverty, and Studs Terkel, all exemplify not only an expert eye, but a sincere and intense curiosity.
Bill Healy isn’t a voyeur, nor the type of photographer who focuses on stylized, or overly glamorized tendencies. He tells stories by capturing lives & places with a lens. We’re happy to be talking to Bill about an exhibition of these works – we hope to be able to share an event announcement in the near future.
For now, give each of these images an extended viewing.