The community of Uptown, one of Chicago’s many neighborhoods, is a strange and fantastic place, currently in the throes of gentrification. Its history is rich and beautiful, tortured and glamourous — full of mink coats and the birth of cinematography, prohibition and the infamous gangster Al Capone, the housing shortage and the in-migration of Appalachians along the “Hillbilly Highway,” row after row of flop houses and the dumping grounds for thousands of mental patients. Uptown is, and always has been, a haven for immigrants, and there are sixty-six languages spoken there today. The diversity in the community is obstinate; even in the face of drastic renovations and new construction, Uptown defies the segregation so common in most of Chicago.

Photographs of street scenes, showing a hodgepodge of architectural styles and local businesses, weave through portraits of residents and images of interior living spaces. From an old, luxury hotel converted to a single-room-occupancy residence with flowered carpet and snowy roach powder to an expansive, granite-counter-topped rehab with yawning stretches of hardwood floor, remnants of history peak through an eclectic collection of homes. Interior shots reveal intimate details: a neatly smoothed blanket and carefully-placed bed pillows, clusters of framed family photographs, and a coffee table strewn with game controllers. Like so many things American, threads of patriotism, sex, and religion ripple through the images as the character of the people and the place begins to come alive.