For 15 years, Dawoud Bey made 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.