Melissa Ann Pinney
Melissa Ann Pinney’s closely-observed studies of the social lives and emerging identities of American women have won the photographer numerous fellowships and awards, and found their way into the collections of the major museums in the US and abroad. Pinney’s work first garnered attention when it was included in the Museum of Modern Art’s major 1991 exhibition, Pleasures and Terrors of Domestic Comfort. Her evocative photographs of the stages of life of American women earned her a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1999, which resulted in her first major monograph, Regarding Emma: Photographs of American Women and Girls (2003). Melissa Ann Pinney’s next book, Girl Ascending, (2010) focused on a touchstone moment in the lives of American girls. Pinney’s latest book, TWO, includes 80 photographs and short essays by ten distinguished authors on the nature of two. Ann Patchett edited the book and wrote the introduction.
Portrait by Devina Yoestong
Melissa Ann Pinney & Ogden West High School
Melissa Ann Pinney & Ogden-Jenner Academy of the Arts
Melissa Ann Pinney & The Bell School
“The Bell School is a 100 year old Chicago Public Elementary School with three programs: Neighborhood, Deaf and Gifted. There are 1,000 students in total. From the beginning I wanted to focus on the children– their games and relationships to one another and to the physical environment, mostly outside of the classroom,” – Melissa Ann Pinney, photographer.
This project looks closely at Chicago’s children as they build their futures within the social, cultural and political milieu of the Chicago Public School system. Schools are a rich setting to explore emerging female identity, a long-time subject of mine that is more important now than ever in this era of #MeToo. I’ve seen how sharing the photographs with the students, parents and teachers builds community. It is an exciting and rare privilege to photograph a diverse population of Chicago’s students during a time when the city is in the forefront of a national conversation about public education, racism and economic inequality.