Jon Lowenstein (@jonlowenstein) is a photographer that I much admire. Fifteen years ago he started an assignment based around Chicago’s South Side. As a new resident, he started photographing the community with an SX-70 and 4×5 cameras, leaving Polaroid images with his neighbours, he became known as the ‘Photoman’. He transformed vacant apartments within his housing complex into community exhibition spaces called “The Island”, and taught photography classes at a local elementary school.
“When I started the project on the South Side, analog was the only way to go. Nowadays so many people in the ‘hood use Instagram that it is a real way to communicate on a local level, as well as national and international,” Jon says.
He credits his college classmate, David Guttenfelder (@dguttenfelder), for exposing him to Instagram, where he now pairs images from his neighborhood with the stories behind them. “I believe that the iPhone is the new Polaroid: I love that I can share my thoughts and observations in real time as I do the work. I find this part most satisfying when I can actually talk with people who I don’t know about issues that I cover.”