For the last four years, Yates High School photography teacher Ray Carrington II has taken his kids to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston -- not simply as spectators or visitors, but as artists. In the annual "Eye on Third Ward: Yates Magnet School Photography Exhibition," students' photographs capture the rhythm of life in their neighborhood.
The photographs are the end product of a yearlong project that introduces juniors and seniors to the museum. Students submit portfolios to the MFAH, which selects the work that appears in the exhibition.
This year's photos, totaling 43, are all in black and white. Most are portraits, many of them children's portraits. "Casual moments in life" is how Mercedes Perez-Meyer, community programs manager at MFAH, describes the subject matter.
Shamika Woods, the star of the exhibition, was a junior when she took the eight photographs on display. In one of her photos, a little girl sits on the steps in front of her house holding an umbrella. She looks straight through the camera to us, and there is something of a challenge in her gaze.
In one photo by Gabriella Carter, entitled We Need Jesus, a woman stands against a wall with a ghetto-blaster in her arm and a plastic cowboy boot tied to her belt. On the wall behind her, the graffiti reads, "We need justice / not drugs and homosexuality. Jesus Christ." The lighting in the photograph is perfect; a ray of sunshine streaks across the woman and the wall. One of the most revealing of the photographs, it hints at a dangerous world.
After the exhibition moves from the MFAH on October 25, the show will travel to libraries, churches and community centers.