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From The Vault Of Art Shay: My Name Up In Lights

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jul 9, 2014 7:30PM

(Legendary Chicago-based photographer Art Shay has taken photos of kings, queens, celebrities and the common man in a 60-year career. This week Art explains why he's been largely absent from Chicagoist this year.)

I have to tread very carefully as I announce the next logical step in my 92-year-old life.

No, I'm not going to run off with a nice Jewish cheerleader. I may as well blurt it right out: a reputable, well-financed movie company, according to a recent spread in the Chicago Tribune by Nina Metz, has been has been working these past 15 months on a documentary about me, gathering my signifcant verrk together, interviewing important people in my career-life including celebrities like David Mamet and Hugh Hefner, this website’s editor Chuck Sudo, compulsive picture collectors, even a university professor who believes my work transcends the page, flirting with the same ethos that Melville used to plug his giant Lox, Dostoevsky to illustrate the sad truths about humanity and … well, you get the insufferable idea.

I will not keep the movie's progress a secret, I promise. Hell, the crew even dragged me to my first darkroom old darkroom in the Bronx-but the new basement occupants weren't in, so we couldn't shoot my former coal bin of a darkroom and see what's left of the sliding device I invented at 14, designed to move my enlarging can (a Maxwell House pre-decaf with a number 1 foto floodlight) up and down the wall.

—Published with permission

If you can't get enough of Art Shay's words and photos, please check out the photographer's blog. Art Shay's book, Chicago's Nelson Algren, is also available at Amazon.