WENDY EWALD: Literacy Through Photography

Over the course of several weeklong visits the fall and winter of 2003, internationally acclaimed American photographer Wendy Ewald worked with a group of third, fourth, and fifth graders at Richmond, Virginia's Carver Elementary School. Together, they developed photographic images and text exploring the students' perceptions of self, community, and home.

This material—a multifaceted portrait of the Carver community—ultimately took the form of 29 large-scale photographic banners, each measuring 10 by 8 feet. The banners were installed in twelve outdoor locations throughout the neighborhood.

Ewald's project moves art beyond the boundaries of the gallery walls into the public arena, expanding the meaning and implications of the term "on site."

Wendy Ewald, conceptual artist, describes how photography helps refugee children take possession of their temporary homes and dream about the future.


Here is a lecture given by Wendy at M.I.T.

Wendy Ewald is creative director of Literacy Through Photography, a program of the Center for Documentary Studies that teaches elementary- and middle-school students to express themselves through photography and writing. A senior research associate at CDS, she has been involved in several special projects for teachers and students in the Durham Public Schools. These include Black Self/White Self and American Alphabets, which explore race and ethnicity in America. Ewald has worked as a photographer, teacher, and documentary writer for more than thirty years. She has had exhibitions in major museums in the United States and in Europe. She has published seven books and received many grants and fellowships, including a MacArthur Fellowship in 1992. At CDS, Ewald teaches the course Literacy Through Photography: Teaching Photography and Writing in Elementary and Middle Schools; she also has been co-teaching a Duke/UNC course on various approaches to documentary photography since Spring 2003. Her book, I Wanna Take Me a Picture: Teaching Photography and Writing to Children, was published by CDS/Lyndhurst Books and Beacon Press in 2001.


See more photos at Blackbird Archives.

See Wendy's blog at literacythroughphotography.wordpress.com