The volume is a photographic testimony of the American urban fabric of the late 70’s. Charles H. Traub creates a series of portraits, depicting street tenants of Uptown Chicago and Bowery New York.
The author declares: «I wanted to see, to try to touch at least with my camera the experience of loss». The intent was not to satisfy a sort of voyeurism, but to witness the dignity and humanity of the homeless. They were very different from the contemporary ones; today they are no longer the result of individual destinies but of great social disparities.
A famous book by Nelson Algren, A Walk on the Wild Side, wondered «why lost people sometimes become greater human beings than those who have never been in their lives». Skid Row responds by highlighting a nobility that unites urban communities, even in the worst moments.
Unfortunately, this sensitivity, due to gentrification and indifference, is now systematically suppressed in favor of a transformation made by urban chic.
It is therefore even more necessary to recount these experiences, so as to recall the fundamental role of the “lost nobles” in the construction of the historical identity of a city.
Text by Tom Huhn
Book design Bunker
21 × 26 cm
First published June 2023