Numero Group: By The Numbers

Michael L. Abramson 1948-2011
March 22, 2011, 7:18 pm
Filed under: A Light On The Southside, Obituaries | Tags: ,

Early Monday morning, our friend and collaborator Michael L. Abramson peacefully succumbed to his long battle with kidney cancer.

Based in Chicago, Illinois, Abramson had contributed photography to numerous national and foreign magazines and his work has been exhibited at museums and galleries including The Art Institute of Chicago, The Milwaukee Art Museum, and The Philadelphia Art Museum. In 1978, he received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in response to documentary work on the South Side of Chicago.

Michael’s important historical photographs of Chicago nightlife in the mid-1970s were the centerpiece of Numero’s double album/book hybrid Light: On The South Side, which has received accolades globally—including a Grammy nomination—for this remarkable portrait of a rarely documented and lively Chicago scene.

Of Michael’s work, the writer Nick Hornby says:

“There is something extremely poignant about these pictures: there comes a point where the transience of the laughter and the music, the booze and the cigarettes and the drugs, pushes us into a contemplation of the mortality of the participants, and then on to our own. And life has always been shorter for the inhabitants of the South Side, too—at the time these pictures were taken, the average black male would just about see his sixtieth birthday, but not much beyond that. Carpe diem means that little bit more when the dies are in shorter supply. This is a special book, about one tiny corner of the world over a handful of evenings a long time ago; but that tiny corner of the world has, for decades now, meant a great deal to an awful lot of people scattered all over the world.”

Mike was a real mencsh, a true gentleman, and an important artist. We will miss him tremendously. If you’re out tonight, lift a snifter of Hennessy for him. He preferred Scotch, but it seems appropriate.

6 Comments so far
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Sad news. RIP

Comment by Kris Holmes

He will be missed… a great talent of a man…

Comment by John Boehm

rest in peace.

Comment by J. Min

Rest In Peace.

Comment by Soultaker

[…] of nightlife on the South Side of Chicago bring to mind Brassaï’s depiction of Paris, died Monday of kidney cancer. The announcement was made by the Numero Group, a Chicago music company that […]

Pingback by Parting Glance: Michael L. Abramson, 62, Chronicled Nightlife on the South Side of Chicago -

I poured Michael many of scotches in the early 2000’s in a local Chicago bar. He had many great stories and was a true gentleman indeed. We are so lucky to have been able to see a glimpse of that era through Michael’s eyes. For that we all give you a HUGE thanks and will raise a glass!!!

Comment by Shane Nelson

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