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Michael Abramson
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Michael Abramson

Michael L. Abramson, 62, of Chicago died Jan. 21, 2011. He was born in Newark, grew up in South Orange, and also lived in Maplewood and Boston before moving to Chicago in 1974.

Mr. Abramson’s photographs are included in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian, the Art Institute of Chicago, the California Museum of Photography, the Chicago Historical Society, and the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Close to a hundred of the thousands of photographs he took of nightclubs on the South Side of Chicago were published as a book accompanied by two albums of music; Light on the South Side was released in late 2009 and was nominated for a Grammy Award and its British counterpart, a Mojo.

He and his former business partner, Kathleen Aguilar, also published The Thorne Rooms of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1984; a second edition was released in 2005.

A commercial portrait photographer and photojournalist, his subjects included Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Donald Rumsfeld, Louis Farrakhan, Ron Howard, Steve Jobs, and Michael Jordan. His photographs have been featured on magazine covers and in national news outlets, including The New York Times, Fortune, People, Time, Business Week, Forbes, and Sports Illustrated.

He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business in 1970. He studied photography at the Illinois Institute of Technology, where he earned his master of design degree in 1977 under the tutelage of Arthur Siegal.

He is survived by his longtime partner, Midge Wilson; his mother, Ethel Abramson; his sister, Leslie Abramson; his brother, Richard Abramson; two nieces, Hannah Rossman and Lauren Abramson; and two nephews, Matthew Rossman and Jack Abramson.

A memorial service will be held in Chicago in May.

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