This exhibition highlights the work of twelve student-photographers from New Haven who participated in The View From Here: Accessing Art Through Photography, an inaugural four-month photography program offered by the Yale Center for British Art and the Lens Media Lab at the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage, Yale University, in spring 2021.
During the program, students from New Haven high schools and colleges learned about the history, methods, and science of photography. They used their smartphone cameras as the primary technology for developing an artistic practice. The images created by the program participants include landscapes, portraits, and cityscapes that offer a unique view of individual experience while also weaving together a story of collective isolation. Reflecting on the experience of the pandemic and other challenges, their photographs and personal statements speak to community, family, and a shared sense of place. Together, the student-photographers made a commitment to both imagine and to image their lives beyond the confines of quarantine and to capture the world as they see it.
The View From Here, which will be held annually, was inspired by the Studio Museum in Harlem’s longstanding Expanding the Walls program, established twenty years ago. Like the Studio Museum, the curriculum offered local students the opportunity to engage directly with professionals in the world of photography, including photographers, curators, educators, and conservators at the Center. Guests included Yale School of Art faculty members Lisa Kereszi and Ted Partin, as well as the documentary photographer Melanie Stangle, formerly of the New Haven Register.
Responding to the challenges of the past year, The View From Here was created and taught entirely online. The exhibition is presented on the Center’s website and on the street as a projection from the windows of the museum. As such, it is the first exhibition at the Center to feature art on the exterior walls of the museum. Visible every evening from sunset to midnight on High Street, the closed museum becomes a space that opens a new view onto the city.
The program participants for this inaugural year are (pictured above from left to right) Mason Detrani, Hamden High School; Julie Hajducky, Achievement First Amistad High School; Luke Izzo, New Haven Academy; Tyler Mitchell, Wilbur Cross High School; Sarah Okeke, Achievement First Amistad High School; Shakshi Patel, High School in the Community; Emily Pruitt, West Haven High School; Jazlyn Rivera, Hill Regional Career High School; Maryam Shabazz, Engineering and Science University Magnet School; Laila Smith, New Haven Academy; Kierstin Turnbull, Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School; and Jessica Weber, Gateway Community College.
The View From Here: Accessing Art Through Photography program was developed, organized, and taught by Martina Droth, Deputy Director and Chief Curator at the Center; Paul Messier, Pritzker Director of the Lens Media Lab and Chair of the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage, Yale University; and James Vanderberg, Educator, High School, College, University, and Community Outreach; with Robert Hixon, Senior Imaging Systems Specialist; and Center photographers Richard Caspole and Bernie Staggers.
The exhibition was developed by the program organizers and Dylan Vitale, Museum Technician; with graphic design by Melissa Leone (Yale BA 2021) and projection design by Christopher Evans (Yale MFA 2020).