In honor of the 101st birthday of the great chronicler of African American life in Pittsburgh, Carnegie Museum of Art
will pair classic photographs by Charles Teenie Harris with 50 prize-winning snapshots by children living in Pittsburgh neighborhoods today.
Following in the footsteps of the legendary Teenie Harris, these local children have photographed the meaningful people, places, and things in their lives as part of the One Shot Teenie Harris Photo Contest. In keeping with the theme of a childs vision of Pittsburgh, the Teenie Harris images are selected by his son Charles A. Harris, including scenes of Charles A. Harriss own childhood. The childrens work is sponsored by the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh and the citywide Gathering of Peace antiviolence initiative of the Police Athletic League.
The objective of the contest was to help foster creative and constructive alternatives to violence for at-risk youth in the Pittsburgh area. More than 1,000 disposable cameras were distributed to nearly 500 children between the ages of 6 and 18. The Housing Authority committee selected the first round of photographs, and the finalists were chosen by a committee at Carnegie Museum of Art.
Jimmy Cvetic, a retired Allegheny County policeman and leader of the peace incentive, initiated the idea for the One Shot contest. Cvetic began the Three Rivers Peace Project to eradicate violence in Allegheny County with the help of artists, public schools, churches, and local governments.
The idea of the program is for the kids to think about and choose what that shot will be. You only have once shot in life, says Jara Dorsey, community outreach specialist at Carnegie Museum of Art. Are you going to use a camera to change your life or are you going to use a gunshot?
The childrens images will be on view alongside 184 photographs by Teenie Harris in the show Documenting Our Past: The Teenie Harris Archive Project, Part Three which runs from July 18 to November 1, 2009.
We're pleased to have played a role in this program. I am very proud of all of the young people who took the time to learn about Teenie Harris and to practice his craft. I think anyone who has the opportunity to see the results of their work will be impressed as well, said Michelle Jackson-Washington, chief community affairs officer, Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh.
Harris is revered for his documentation of historic events and daily life in Pittsburghs African American community starting in the mid-1930s. The One Shot contest was named not only to signify the life-altering course of a gunshot but also because Harris was called One Shot by former mayor David L. Lawrence. Harris was said to take photographs with such ease that he needed only one shot to capture his subject.
On July 23, from 6 to 7 p.m., Carnegie Museum of Art will host the event Celebrate the Photography of Teenie Harris, during which some of the contest winners will share their experiences of documenting their world. Additionally, Dr. Laurence Glasco, professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh, presents an illustrated lecture on Teenies life and the range of subjects he captured. The event will be held in Carnegie Music Hall and is free to the public.