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Chicagoans Beyond The Loop: Photog Captures Faces in All 77 Neighborhoods

By Justin Breen | November 2, 2015 5:34am
 Photos taken of Chicago residents by Mike Gugliuzza.
Mike Gugliuzza Photos
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CHICAGO — Mike Gugliuzza spent two months visiting all 77 Chicago neighborhoods and photographing the people who live there.

The 23-year-old Uptown resident recently began unveiling his photos as part of his Meet Your City project on his Instagram page, telling the stories of folks from Rogers Park to Hegewisch ... and all of Chicago's designated "community areas" in between.

"I wanted to introduce people to Chicago in a different light," said Gugliuzza, a North Park native who had only been to about one-quarter of the city's hoods before embarking on the project from March-April 2014.

"Every person that you meet is going to have a different story," Gugliuzza added. "And I learned about myself that I enjoy exploring in that kind of way, just trying new things and meeting new people."

Gugliuzza, a graduate student at Moody Bible Institute, got the idea when he was an undergrad at the same school. He had been giving tours of Chicago for Moody Bible's international students, but those mainly consisted of visits to city staples like Navy Pier and Grant Park. With encouragement from one of his professors, Brian Kammerzelt — also a professional photographer — Gugliuzza branched out.

"What an amazing project with so much potential," Kammerzelt said. "Something everyone should take part in. Mike's determination, heart for the city, and boldness in making this project happen was exciting to see. The photos are excellent and the combination with the map and Instagram is brilliant."

It took two full months to complete the task. In some neighborhoods, Gugliuzza said, people refused to have their photos taken because they were wanted by authorities. For the most part, though, people were receptive, from organists in Hyde Park, to store clerks in Pullman.

The project is similar to the wildly popular People of New York Facebook page, which highlights interesting New Yorkers going about their daily lives. 

"I love what the guys doing," Gugliuzza said of the People of NY page. "He's really good at capturing a human being in a photo and a few lines."

Gugliuzza said he hopes to inspire others with his work.

"The purpose of the project is to get people to get out of their six or seven neighborhoods and explore something new," he said. "There’s just a lot in this city to experience."

 

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