I teach a middle school photo class once a week in a public New York City middle school, and I’ve been photographing there and at similar schools. The schools speak with the same visual vocabulary but time and students personalize the walls. Assimilation, teenage rebellion: institutional architecture, teenage dismay – and hearts.
And these are some of my student photographers.
I taught an after-school photography class to some New York City middle school students last year. I’ve been teaching classes in under-served schools like this on-and-off for a decade, and last year I started shooting with a phone camera. As I looked at what I’d seen, I realized I was photographing school archetypes and the way they illustrate containment and control of desires: the core of the middle school experience, and a cornerstone of education in general. More coming this school year…
Last month The Daily Beast asked me to photograph remembrances of the September 11th attacks for their Instagram feed. I walked and walked, shooting with my phone. I photographed a Green-Wood Cemetery grove that holds the graves of 9/11 first responders, a tower that looked disconcertingly like the World Trade Center, a memorial at the New York Fire Museum (where a fragment of one of the planes is displayed), One World Trade Center, St. Paul’s Chapel (the church became a place of refuge for Ground Zero workers – scuff marks from their equipment still mark the pews), the FDNY Memorial Wall, and the Tribute in Light (close up and then from Sunset Park). The memorial traces were moving and sad, and I was able to work discreetly throughout with my tiny camera.