“Perspectives: 160: Dawoud Bey”

Dawoud Bey captures the real face of American high-schoolers

According to Laguna Beach and Gossip Girl, all high-schoolers are rich, beautiful and beyond bitchy. We get a reality check with photographer Dawoud Bey’s portrait series “Perspectives 160: Dawoud Bey,” currently on display at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.

Since 1992, Bey has been shooting large-scale portraits of American teens. In both the exhibit and the accompanying book Class Pictures, text the students wrote about themselves appears alongside the photos. Bey spent only one hour with each student, and he didn’t read the text before he shot the photographs, but he nonetheless captured images which are powerful yet calm, intimate yet enigmatic. Instead of smiling shots of glam teen models, we get somber, straight-on portraits of kids of all sizes, shapes and colors. (They seem to think being a teen is very serious business.) Bey’s “Perspectives 160” is one of the most honest portrayals you can get of teens these days — and should be especially interesting to those of us who’ve been tricked into remembering high school as one giant party. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Through May 11. 5216 Montrose. For information, call 713–284–8250 or visit www.camh.org. Free.
March 14-May 11, 2008

 
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