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Wicker Park, Bucktown, West Town

1980s Wicker Park Street Photography To Be Featured In Flashback Exhibit

The exhibition features many sepia streetscape images and portraits of people Jim Redd knew and encountered on the street.

Crowd in Wicker Park in the 80s.
Jim Redd
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WICKER PARK —  What was Wicker Park like in the 1980s? 

Photos taken by Jim Redd —  tucked away in a closet for two decades  — provide a glimpse. Between the late 1970s and early 80, Redd captured dozens of images of strangers and neighbors going about their days in Wicker Park. 

Next month, the Oliva Gallery will spotlight Redd’s photos in a “Flashback ’84” exhibit, opening at 5-10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14 and running through Jan. 1.

Video preview created by Barry Burman. [Oliva Gallery/Facebook]

The exhibition features many sepia streetscape images and portraits of people Redd knew and encountered on the street, according to the gallery’s owner Kimberly Oliva. 

Credit: Jim Redd
A moment captured.

Oliva described the collection as “an incredible array” of 12 framed and 70 sleeved original prints. Prices will range from $35 to $350, she said.  

Redd previously lived in Wicker Park, on Hoyne Avenue in a house he bought in the 70s. His oldest son Adrian Redd is 42 and works at Boulevard Bikes in Logan Square. 

Adrian Redd brought his father’s work to Oliva’s attention.

“As soon as I saw it, it reminded me of my time here in the early 90s. People really recognize architectural spots within the photos,” Oliva said. 

There is no artist’s statement from Redd yet, but he plans to fly in from Ecuador, where he lives, for the opening reception to talk about his photography process and the meaning behind the photos, Oliva said.

Adrian Redd said his dad may have been working for IBM “or something else computer related” when the photos were taken. 

“I don’t know why he took them, except that photography was a hobby and pastime of his,” Redd told Block Club.

Take a sneak peek at some of Jim Redd’s photos, below. Visit the Oliva Gallery’s Facebook page to stay updated on the exhibit. The gallery is located at 3816 W. Armitage Ave. in Logan Square. 

Credit: Jim Redd
A woman wearing a shirt for the 1984 Olympics.
Credit: Jim Redd
A portrait taken in Wicker Park in the early 1980s.
Credit: Jim Redd
Where Starbucks is now.
Credit: Jim Redd
Faces of the 1980s in Wicker Park.