Merry Christmas from Uptown

This man told me he was a musician from Ireland looking for work in Chicago. I photographed him just before Christmas in 1975. Shoppers were busy with last minute shopping. He was trying to mail something home. I asked him if he really needed two hats to stay warm. His reply was no. But he was homeless and needed to wear all his clothes to prevent someone from stealing them. Despite his employment situation, I did not get the sense that he was an alcoholic. He seemed extremely intelligent and articulate. Many people during this era were unemployed because of a massive recession triggered by the OPEC Oil Embargo in 1973. They flocked to Chicago looking for work. And they flocked to Uptown looking for cheap rents.

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