Sa Schloff

Schloff’s photographic work explores how we live in the present and past simultaneously. Sa has exhibited at The Arts Club of Washington, DC; Portland Museum of Art, Maine; Museum of Contemporary Photography; Houston Center for Photography; Smith College Art Museum, among others. Sa’s images have been published in The New Yorker and Harper’s and Bomb Magazine. She has won a Chicago Arts Assistance Grant; a LEF Artist’s Grant; St. Botolph Foundation Grant; two faculty grants from Maine College of Art and a part-time faculty grant from Columbia College. She received her MFA in photography from the School of the Art Institute and teaches photography at Columbia College, Chicago. Sa Lives in Chicago with her husband and two children.

Portrait by Devina Yoestong

Stories from Sa Schloff

Sa Schloff & Mather High School

Project Overview

I have spent many years photographing inside of schools, both the architecture and the students. In past years I photographed inside of Lane Tech, which is a coveted selective enrollment high school with an impressive, castle-like building and the largest student body in the state of Illinois.

CPS Lives paired me with Mather High School, located on the Northside of Chicago. Mather is a bit of a plain Jane compared to Lane. The building itself was originally a junior high school, built in the 1960s. It is fairly bland and each hallway looks the same. The students, however, are quite vibrant, hailing from many different countries. The school’s motto is ‘Celebrating Diversity’ and more than 75% of students speak a language other than English at home.

My project for CPS Lives is to highlight the diversity of students at Mather High School by making formal portraits of students in Ethnic clubs and other activities like actors in the school play or students who participate in Taekwondo. I am visually contrasting the students in their respective costumes against the institutional architecture of Mather. I have included a few examples in this application.

As part of our contract with CPS Lives, each artist has an exhibit at a public library in the community of the school in which he/she is working. I like the public nature of these community exhibits. I am hoping to use the windows of the recently shuttered Northtown Library as my ‘frames’. I want to create an exhibit that can be viewed by pedestrians and motorists passing by the library.

For my presentation, I want to make extra-large prints so the subjects take on a monumental scale. These kids are from the community surrounding the school and I want them to be seen.

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