Between 1966 and 1979, Martin Koenig ventured into Bulgaria to capture in black-and-white photographs the fast-disappearing traditional rural life of that country. When we look at the subjects of Koenig’s outdoor individual and group portraits, we feel transported back at least a century; there is not a hint of industrial technology, but for two stray bicycles in the corner of one of the prints, and, but for a couple of exceptions, the people have not learned to smile for the camera. That is not to say that Koenig’s Bulgarians are dour; they simply display the rural stoicism laced with contentment or displeasure that is the way of the world until industrial urbanization and consumer culture come into play. (Michael Weinstein)
Through September 28 at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington (312)744-6630.