“Make no mistake; the students at Harper High School are different. What makes them compelling isn’t the national spotlight that recent coverage has thrown onto them, or the fact that they attend school in West Englewood, one of Chicago’s most violent south side neighborhoods. What makes them different is that despite all of this, Harper students are still the clever, honest, and charismatic teenagers that high schools everywhere are comprised of. My practice is constantly transformed by the infinite variety of students I work with. The students at Harper reaffirmed how important it is to find ways to identify with each other.”
Joseph Wilcox is a Chicago based fine art photographer. Wilcox has taught at various institutions around Chicago. Harper High School, was one of those places, and was an inspiration of this particular portraits series. Wilcox ‘s project is a good example of the use of photography that transcends mere image making. Functioning more as a social practice that allowed Wilcox to not only document, but connect with his students more intimately, “Harper High School” is as much a portrait of Wilcox himself as it is of his students.