Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood in the mid-1970s was very poly-cultural and multi-ethnic. I can’t remember much about these young men, but the notes attached to my contact sheet say “softball team made up of Latin Kings and Harrison Gents.” Since then, I have been contacted by someone in the shot who told me that some of the people in it were never even affiliated with the gangs.

The team was called the Unknowns. The word “unknown” summed up how many of the people in Uptown felt during this era. I got the sense, when photographing there, that many people felt invisible to or ignored by the rest of the world. Ironically, the Uptown neighborhood had a rich street life, interesting architecture, a vibrant history and many ethnic restaurants.

This shot was taken on 4/24/1976 near Ainslie. A reader wrote in to say that the vacant lot behind the team is now a community garden.

This was one of a handful of shots that I took in Uptown with a 4×5 Deardorff view camera. Deardorff handmade its cameras in Chicago out of mahogany. I still have the camera. It was a work of art in itself. You can see a picture of it in this blog entry.