Lee Balterman Photography: A Video Album of 1940’s Chicago Life

Carl Sandburg: Photograph by Lee Balterman

It would be hard to find a less theoretical artist than eighty six 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, his photographic portraits have included an ebullient President Eisenhower on a campaign swing, a ghostly Carl Sandburg staring into space in a lonely firehouse (see above) and a “Shaft”-era Isaac Hayes, conducting business by phone in the plush luxury of his white limousine.

Lee Balterman’s Chicago may be long gone, but it’s still a very interesting 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 1940’s Chicago Life

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3 Responses to “Lee Balterman Photography: A Video Album of 1940’s Chicago Life”

  1. Et Cetera: Publick and Privat Curiosities Lee Balterman: Photographs of a Chicago Long-Gone « Says:

    […] 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 […]


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