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Dawoud Bey: Class Pictures
     

Dawoud Bey: Class Pictures

by Dawoud Bey (Photographer), Jock Reynolds (Text by), Taro Nettleton (Text by), Carrie Mae Weems (Text by)
 

For the past 15 years, Dawoud Bey has been making striking, large-scale color portraits of students at high schools across the United States. Depicting teenagers from a wide economic, social and ethnic spectrum—and intensely attentive to their poses and gestures—he has created a highly diverse group portrait of a generation that intentionally challenges

Overview

For the past 15 years, Dawoud Bey has been making striking, large-scale color portraits of students at high schools across the United States. Depicting teenagers from a wide economic, social and ethnic spectrum—and intensely attentive to their poses and gestures—he has created a highly diverse group portrait of a generation that intentionally challenges teenage stereotypes.
Bey spends two to three weeks in each school, taking formal portraits of individual students, each made in a classroom during one 45-minute period. At the start of the sitting, each subject writes a brief autobiographical statement. By turns poignant, funny or harrowing, these revealing words are an integral part of the project, and the subject's statement accompanies each photograph in the book. Together, the words and images in Class Pictures offer unusually respectful and perceptive portraits that establish Dawoud Bey as one of the best portraitists at work today.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

While delivering little new insight into photographer Bey's portraits (past publications include Dawoud Bey: The Chicago Projectand Dawoud Bey: Portraits 1975-1995), this catalog for a traveling exhibition is not irrelevant. Bey began his career as a photographer documenting street life in 1970s Harlem, New York. For the last 15 years, he has been producing a series of photographs that strive to be, as he explains in the printed interview with artist Carrie Mae Weems, "both socially and aesthetically engaging." For this work, he visited a diverse group of schools for an extended residency, took large-scale pictures of the students there, and solicited autobiographical statements. It is a formula, but Bey's photos have a mesmerizing presence, and his collaboration seems to have empowered these student subjects. Most interesting is the unexpected relationship between the carefully framed and beautifully printed full-page color portraits and the students' raw statements on the facing page-proving Bey's project is hardly one-sided. Recommended for larger art collections or specific photography collections.
—Prudence Peiffer

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781597110433
Publisher:
Aperture Foundation
Publication date:
09/28/2007
Pages:
163
Sales rank:
689,635
Product dimensions:
9.70(w) x 11.20(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Dawoud Bey earned his MFA from Yale University School of Art and is professor of photography at Columbia College Chicago. He has been featured in numerous exhibitions—including a midcareer survey at Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, in 1995—and has received several awards, including grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He is represented by Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago.

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