For five years, photographer Richard Ross focused a powerful lens on American juveniles run afoul of the law. Through his camera, he’s documented what he calls “unbiased and compelling photographic and textual evidence of a system that houses more than 100,000 kids every day.”
Ross returns to Herron, after a 2012 visiting artist’s lecture, for the opening of the Juvenile In Justice exhibition in Herron’s main galleries on March 5. He’ll speak at 6:00 p.m., with a book signing and reception following until 9:00 p.m. in Eskenazi Hall.
His ongoing mission is to instigate policy reform. When Ross shot at the Cook County Detention Center, he said its director, Earl Dunlap, greeted him with “Welcome to the gates of Hell.”
The Juvenile In Justice project has examined conditions in more than 200 places, including the South Bend Correctional Facility in Indiana. The exhibition has travelled worldwide. Its next stop after Herron is Harvard.
Ross has interviewed and photographed “both pre-adjudicated and committed youth in the juvenile justice system,” he said. “I have made sure to keep the children’s identities unknown, by either photographing them from behind or obscuring their faces.
“I have photographed group homes, police departments, youth correctional facilities, juvenile courtrooms, high schools, shelters, Montessori classrooms, Child Protective Services interview rooms, maximum security lock-down and non-lock-down shelters, to name a few,” he said.
Ross’s work is funded by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Fulbright and the Center for Cultural Innovation. He was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship in 2007 to complete Architecture of Authority, a body of work depicting architectural spaces worldwide that exert power over the individuals confined within them. ArtForum called it one of the best exhibitions of the year. He has taught at the University of California, Santa Barbara since 1977. Juvenile In Justice continues in the Berkshire, Reese and Paul Galleries through April 17.
There are no upcoming dates for this event.