Magazine article New Internationalist

Classroom Portraits 2004-2012

Magazine article New Internationalist

Classroom Portraits 2004-2012

Article excerpt

Classroom portraits 2004-2012 by Julian Germain with foreword by Dr Leonid lluyushin (Prestel ISBN 978 3 79134748 6)

'Considering the importance of school, it seemed strange to me that the subject was so rarely dealt with as a theme in visual art,' writes Julian Germain in his preface to this book.

And it is art. These images, from across the world, are several cuts above the standard fare.

Germain manages to get a sharp focus and an extraordianary sense of concentration from the pupils, be they infants or hulking near- adults; be they in Yemen or Britain. He explains: 'The exposure time is usually a quarter or half a second so the pupils have to be ready for me 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.'

Every day half a billion schoolchildren sit down at their desks to take part in a ritual system of classroom-based learning that has hardly changed since the 16th century. …

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