Willard Motley standing on the left side and signing a book (possibly for the man standing on the right); a man in white shirt with glasses and a cigarette stands behind the counter, which is decorated with balloons and a big sign reads "KNOCK ON ANY DOOR By Willard Motley" (etc.)
In the early 1940s Wayne Miller received a Guggenheim Fellowship to photograph the inhabitants of Chicago’s South Side, focusing on the neighborhood’s street life and work life in order to “document the things that make this human race of ours a family,” as he later wrote. He was especially drawn to entertainers and nightclubs, photographing luminaries like Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald. Miller was also keen on the anonymous men and women who worked nightly at the jazz and blues clubs. In Chorus girls, for instance, we see the glitz and industry of this nightlife, and we also witness Miller’s ability to gain access to its least public realms.
-Anthony W. Lee, Idella Plimpton Kendall Professor of Art History, Mount Holyoke College (Sept. 2016)
writing; signatures; books
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