Photographer Art Shay Dies

Art Shay, a Chicago-based photographer whose iconic images are known around the world, died Saturday, April 28 in Deerfield at age 96. 

Shay's photography career spanned 70 years, during which he risked his life capturing tragic images of fighting during WWII, and he created images of the Civil Rights movement that revealed to the world people's struggles and triumphs. 

Shay memorialized celebrities and famous figures like Elizabeth Taylor, Simone de Beauvoir, John F. Kennedy, and Nelson Algren, among others, and he got inside Hugh Hefner's Playboy mansion to capture socializing bunnies and their guests. He worked for LIFE, Time, Sports Illustrated and many other publications. And Shay was on the ground during the tumultous Democratic Convention in Chicago in 1968, reportedly geting maced in the process.

Shay was prolific during his long life and career, and he was admired around the world, but especially in Chicago where he made his home. In 2015 the Musuem of Contemporary Photography gave Shay the Silver Camera award in honor of his important work. 

A show of his photographs opens this Friday, May 4 as part of Writers and Freedom Fighters at Gallery Victor Armendariz in River North. Shay was previously represented by friend and long-time dealer Ann Nathan. 

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Chicago Sun Times

Chicago Tribune


Top image: Richard and Art Shay, MoCP Silver Camera Award, photography by Jessica Tampas