Portraits of the Hazleton Public Schools


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Judith Joy Ross; Essay by Jock Reynolds

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Acclaimed for the emotional acuity of her portraits, Judith Joy Ross is an accomplished photographer whose work is found in the collections of America’s major museums. This exquisitely produced book focuses on one of Ross’s most personal series to date—sixty-seven portraits of students at public schools in Hazleton, Pennsylvania.
In the early 1990s, Ross returned to the schools of her youth as a way of revisiting the experience of growing up. Shot with an old-fashioned 8 x 10-inch view camera, the photographs in Portraits of the Hazleton Public Schools are unpretentious and astonishing in their psychological insight. Shown together for the first time in this volume, they reveal the universally wonderful and terrifying rite of passage of going to school.

Distributed for the Yale University Art Gallery

Judith Joy Ross’s work is represented in numerous museum collections, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Yale University Art Gallery. Jock Reynolds is the Henry J. Heinz II Director of the Yale University Art Gallery and is author of Emmet Gowin: Changing the Earth (Yale).

“stunning photographs…a noble, never patronising study…that also reveals much about the psychology of the classroom. As Ross sets up her old-fashioned 8 x 10-inch view camera….a touching portrait of the formative rite of passage that is American school life is revealed.” - Creative Review

"[This book] packs a powerful psychological and visual impact."—Contemporary Collectibles

“An exquisitely produced book focusing on one of the artist’s most personal series to date—67 portraits of students at public schools in Hazelton, Penn. . . . These are sumptuous, depth-filled images, enhancing the pseudo-historical mien of Ross’ work. They are universal while also being unique.”—Dave Gagon, Deseret Morning News

"Judith Ross's pictures pay exquisite attention to the small achievements, difficulties, personal rebellions and daily struggles of children stumbling towards a social identity in our "hallowed" halls of education. Who, other than the occasional parent, teacher or social worker, pays any attention to the circumstances of the individuals in this essentially powerless population? For those of us who hated school and didn't understand why we were there or how we were supposed to act, these photographs are welcome displays of empathy. They help us remember, and reflect on, the immense vulnerability that defines a child's experience of school, while sparking recognition of how this experience is both universal and unique."—Susan Kismaric, Curator, Department of Photography, The Museum of Modern Art, New York

ISBN: 9780300115840
Publication Date: February 28, 2006
Publishing Partner: Distributed for the Yale University Art Gallery
88 pages, 10 3/4 x 11 7/8
67 tritone illus.

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