Uptown Portrait by Robert Rehak

This is a little unusual for this blog, but still relates to the topic of Media Impacts and Unintended Consequences. As many of you know, this is one of two blogs I publish. The other is a blog for my personal photography. It contains my favorite images from 45 years of lugging around cameras. About three months ago, I published several images from a series of documentary portraits I took in a Chicago neighborhood called Uptown, starting in 1973. They went viral. I’ve received 3.2 million hits in the last three months, with virtually no publicity. That’s one unintended consequence.

Another unintended consequence is a book. It’s called Uptown: Portrait of a Chicago Neighborhood in the Mid-1970s by Robert Rehak. As a result of all the interest in the photos, I became convinced that there was a market for the book. It will be coming out in a couple weeks.

A third unintended consequence was all the feedback I got on the images. People wrote me about what happened to the people in them. The notes created a fascinating longitudinal study. They gave me additional details on times, dates, places and events and told me what happened to the people I photographed 40 years ago. As a result, the book turned into a collaborative history project.

I’ll be unveiling Uptown: Portrait of a Chicago Neighborhood in the Mid-1970s at the Chicago Public Library in Uptown on November 21 at 4PM. The event is sponsored by the Chicago Book Expo and the Chicago Public Library.

I hope you can attend. I would like to thank all the readers in person who wrote to me about the images and helped with the book. They made it a much richer experience.

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