Portraits of Young Americans by Sheila Pee Bright

Young Americans by Sheila Pree Bright
Last night during Barack Obama’s victory speech, the President-elect humbly declared “I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to – it belongs to you.” The people eagerly watching Barack speak in Chicago’s Grant Park were of all ages and races.

Sheila Pree Bright’s most recent photography project, “Young Americans”, features striking portraits of young Americans relating to our national flag. Tackling the often controversial and not easily defined notion of North American identity, some make humorous yet politically-charged statements, like the guy “vomiting” up the stars and stripes.

Here’s Sheila Pree Bright’s artist statement for “Young Americans“:

America is a burden and a blessing that we all inherit, young and old; without help, direction, or answers the burden continues to grow, but retains the same symbolic form; stars and stripes.

She’s also offered this introduction to her project:
Young people born between 1982 and 2000 constitute the largest generation since the baby boomers, but they are often portrayed negatively in our society. I wanted to give them a platform to speak for themselves—to show and describe how they feel about this country. I also wanted to include young people from diverse backgrounds and socio-economic groups.”

“Young Americans” will be traveling to the Amistad Center for Art & Culture at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art on September 20,2008 – January 19,2009 before touring nationally.

Look for Bright’s photographs in the following African-American photography anthologies: Reflections in Black: A History of African American Photographers (WW Norton, 2001) and, Black: A Celebration of a Culture (Hylas Publishing, 2004).

If Bright’s “Young Americans” is ever published as a book, I think it will go down in photography history as being as notable as Robert Frank’s The Americans.

PHOTO: Sheila Pree Bright © Copyright 2006


Read my latest blog post on Black Star Rising, Photography Empathy: What You Feel Is What You Get.

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