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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
"To take a photograph is to align the head, the eye and the heart. It's a way of life." ~ Henri Cartier-Bresson

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Portraits of Students in Classrooms Around the World by Photographer Julian Germain

The Future is Ours, Classroom Portraits, 2004 - 2012

What happens when a stranger enters a classroom during a lesson and asks for the pupils' total concentration for 15 minutes in order to make their portrait? He positions everyone with great care (so that they can clearly be seen) and then demands that they stay completely still for the long exposure. The results are both predictable and astonishing.

This ongoing series by Julian Germain started in northeast England. Since then Germain has visited schools throughout North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia. His magnificent photographs are packed with detail--books open on graffitied desks, instructions on white and blackboards, artwork hanging on walls, notes scribbled on the backs of hands. And of course there are the faces of the children themselves; enrapt, bored, inquisitive, arrogant, or shy, they incite endless curiosity about what these kids' lives are like and what their futures hold.

These portraits trigger memories of our own schooldays and bring into sharp focus the contemporary school experience throughout the world, in all its diversity and universality.

Bangladesh, Jessore. Year 10, English
England, Seaham, Reception and Year 1, Structured Play
Taiwan, Ruei Fang Township, Kindergarten, Art

"I never tell the students how they should look but ensuring that everybody has a clear view of the camera requires concentration and patience. Each pupil has to be aware of their place in the picture.

In order to achieve sharp focus in both fore- and background, the exposure time is usually a quarter or half a second so the pupils have to be ready for the moment the shutter is released. I am waiting for them and they are waiting for me. The process itself generates an atmosphere and the time captured in the portrait seems significant." ~ Julian Germain

Saudi Arabia, Dammam, Kindergarden, Activities
Wales, Felindre, Reception and Years 1 & 2, Numeracy

England, Keighley, Year 6, History

England, Bradford, Year 7, Art

Kuramo Junior College, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria. Basic 7 / Junior Secondary Level 1, Mathematics.
Holland, Drouwenermond, Primary Year 5, 6, 7 & 8, History

Peru, Cusco, Primary Grade 4, Mathematics
USA, Oklahoma, Avant, Grade 4 & 5 Social Sciences

Osvaldo Herrera Junior High School Gonzales, San Fernando de Camarones, Palmyra Township, Cuba., 2011
Argentina, Buenos Aires, Grade 4, Natural Science
Tokyo, Japan, Grade 5, Classical Japanese

Peru, Tiracanchi, Secondary Grade 2, Mathematics

Yemen, Manakha, Primary Year 2, Science Revision

Yemen, Sanaa, Secondary Year 2, English

Brazil, Belo Horizonte, Series 6, Mathematics

Qatar, Grade 10, Religion

Nigeria, Kano, Ooron Dutse, Senior Islamic Secondary Level 2, Social Studies

England, Wolsingham, Year 12, English

The Netherlands, Rotterdam, Secondary Group 3, Motor Mechanics


Check out this behind the scenes footage here and here

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