Lee Balterman: Photographs of a Chicago Long-Gone

Lee Balterman: Carl Sandburg

Lee Balterman: Photographs of 1940s/50s/60s in Chicago

It would be hard to find a less theoretical artist than eighty five year-old Lee Balterman.  Balterman made his living as a Chicago-based photographer for Time, Life, Fortune, Sports Illustrated and other top magazines, producing memorable, even iconic celebrity portraits (for example, an ebullient President Eisenhower on a campaign swing, a ghostly Carl Sandburg staring into space in a lonely firehouse, a “Shaft”-era Isaac Hayes, conducting business by phone in the plush luxury of a white limousine).  Lee Balterman’s Chicago may be long gone, but it’s still a great place to visit.

I’m crazy about pictures,” he says.  “I went around with a camera, and when I saw something — boom! You know, real fast.”  And unlike some of his peers in the history of local street photography, he always preferred people to buildings.  “Yeah, I like people,” he says with a twinkle in his eye.  “More or less.”

Lee Balterman: Photographs of  Chicago in the 1940s

Slide Show: Lee Balterman’s Photographs of a Chicago Long-Gone

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