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Eyeporium Gallery's 'Vanished Realities' Showcases Images from 1968 Chicago

By Alisa Hauser | April 10, 2013 12:33pm

WICKER PARK — A Wicker Park gallery is rolling back the clock to 1968 with the unveiling of a new show featuring never-seen-before images of Chicago during a vibrant yet tumultuous year.

The images in "Vanished Realities" at Eyeporium Gallery were captured by Stan Rosenstock, who was 22 years old in 1968 when he shot 3,000 photos, only one of which was published — a stark photo of an Abbie Hoffman look-a-like being detained at an antiwar protest that appeared on page 2 of the Tribune in August 1968.

Rosenstock's treasure trove includes photos of everyday people, politicians and celebrities including boxer Mohammad Ali and musicians Sammy Davis Jr. and Paul Simon, among others.

Though eventually Rosenstock thought photography might be what he would do for his living, the fourth-generation photographer decided to work in sales instead.

"After 46 years, I am happy that something I've always wanted is coming through. It's the first exhibition of just my work," he said.

Influenced by Jack Kerouac's beat generation novel "On the Road," Rosenstock said he moved 30 times before settling in 1981 in Skokie, where he works as a light bulb salesman.

Despite his many moves, he kept the negatives from 1968 and "always wanted to do a show like this, but saying and doing it are two different things."   

From 2007 to 2012 Rosenstock spent evenings scanning photos into a digital scanner after working at his day job.

Eyeporium Gallery director Carron Little called Rosenstock's show "a tribute to Chicago."

Rosenstock said his favorite photo in the collection is an "introspective" shot of Sammy Davis Jr. looking down rather than at the camera.

"He is usually laughing or joking or entertaining, and there he is a person like you and me," Rosenstock said.

Little said the limited-edition prints will be sold for $680 per photo at the show's opening on April 20; after which prices will increase to $750 per print.

An opening reception for "Vanished Realities" will be from 6-9 p.m. April 20 at Eyeporium Gallery, 1431 N. Milwaukee Ave. The exhibit will run through June 24. 

Eyeporium Gallery is housed inside Eye Want Eye Wear. Hours are noon-7 p.m. weekdays and noon-5 p.m. Saturdays.