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IN PICTURES: Scenes From Chicago's Slums In 1954

By Chuck Sudo in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 23, 2013 2:00PM

Life magazine has a powerful gallery of photos depicting life in Chicago’s slums in 1954, right around the time the city began looking at housing projects like Robert Taylor Homes and Cabrini Green as the solution to the squalor and poverty faced by the poor, particularly blacks, in the city at the time.

We all know how that turned out. Cabrini Green eventually became the symbol for everything wrong with public housing in America.

These photos were taken by German-born photographer Fritz Goro, who became legendary for capturing the 20th century’s major scientific breakthroughs on film. Goro was the driving force behind macrophotography. During a 40-year career at Life and Scientific American, Goro captured life at the subatomic level.

According to Amusing Planet, Goro “designed his own optical systems to capture (often for the first time, by anyone) everything from bioluminescence to the mechanisms behind the circulation of blood through a living body. He traveled the globe from the Antarctic, Mexican jungles and the Australian outback enduring brutal cold and searing heat; but more often than not, it was in the controlled, cool space of a laboratory or a studio that he crafted his most breathtaking, groundbreaking work.” (Goro died at age 85 in 1986.)

These photos, and the complete gallery at Life, show Goro had an amazing ability to capture with his camera lens what could be seen with the naked eye. They also serve as a stark reminder that the more things change, the more they stay the same.