Apr 22, 2013

Street Portraits With Wing Young Huie

by: Steve Weinik

Street Portraits With Wing Young Huie

Last week I had the kind of incredible opportunity to sit in on and follow photographerWing Young Huie as he led a Mural Arts Art Education class in South Philly. Wing was brought in as part of a photography series led by our education staff this year.

His method is to have students present a stranger with the following 6 questions:


  • What are you?
  • What advice would you give to a stranger?
  • How do you think others see you? what don’t they see?
  • When do you feel you are different than others? when do you feel you are the same?
  • Describe an incident that helped define you?
  • What matters?


Then have that stranger write the answer to the question that resonates most with them on a small chalkboard. It’s street photography with an icebreaker. The interview provides context for some random person with a camera to approach you and ask to make a portrait. The chalkboard is a built in frame for that portrait. It’s simple, but effective.

Over 2 classes, he prepared our students to go out (with instructors at their side) and collect interviews and make photos. The prep included a slideshow of his own work, where he explained the power and potential of images. In a revealing and slightly disheartening Q&A with the kids, he was able to draw out the preconceptions that even pre-adolescents bring to their interpretations.

Without judgement, he coaxed the students to understand the roots of their views and to consider others. The kids then practiced interviews with each other and finally headed out in small groups to talk to people. Below are some more of my photos from the classes and those interviews. It was a pretty amazing experience overall. Try to guess which questions they answered.

Last updated: Jan 27, 2016

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