For the past fifteen 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 forty-five-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 subjects 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.
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