Since its inception in 1968, the Studio Museum in Harlem has been committed to the encouragement of young talent, including, for the past nine years, a photography program for selected high school students, who use the museum's archive of James Van Der Zee's 20th-century Harlem portraits for inspiration. In the confident black-and-white work of this year's 12 participants, there's less an emphasis on style than on notions of identity (a rather important topic for teenagers). Jordana Churchman's moody compositions of introspective young men draw your eye to perspective lines to suggest a longing for a distant future. Hinting at Edward Weston's nudes, Tiana Mincey gives the isolated contours of dark-skinned bodies, shot in high contrast against gray backgrounds, a sculptural but powerfully sensual presence. Loodjie Louisca, in the mode of Andy Goldsworthy, has photographed personal symbols made from arrangements of found objects, including a charming broken heart of woodchips and white powder. The brashest of the group, Aishah Abdullah, tackles slavery and racism in blunt images of black men in diapers, tied by rope, lying across the 13-star Betsy Ross flag. Coming closest to Van Der Zee's tender approach is 15-year-old Kelsey Mills, who beautifully captures the essence of her grandfather, a veteran devoted to the Bible, in a series of somber, ethereally lit portraits. Savvy and imaginative, all 12 of these artists seem bound for professional... More >>>