Featuring: Aspen Velazquez, Ayesha Jannat, Vienna Chen, Leon Amarel, Jahara Adossa, Tasnim Ali, Thea Parsons, Antara Islam, Tessa Cesare, Alana Mercedes, Gabriella Ronquillo, Marti Wong, Andres Grayson, Ashton French, Ivy Bloomfield, Abigail Quishpe

How much can we really know about a person by looking at a photograph of them? For this project we looked to artists Shirin Neshat, Wendy Red Star, and Wendy Ewald as our inspiration. We explored their strategies of restoring meaning, context, and identity to photographs. We made self portraits that we feel good about and through the process of annotating and illustrating these otherwise silent photographs, these portraits do the work of speaking for themselves. Speaking Portraits elevate our experiences, reveal hidden truths, and inform the viewer about what is most meaningful to us.

By overlaying writing and imagery on top of the portrait, the viewer sees the hand of the photographer; sees their handwriting with its own personality. This added layer makes visible the photographer’s intent and desire for self representation.

Speaking Portraits were made as a culminating project in the Intro to Photography class at Bard High School Early College Manhattan. This hands-on class provides students with the basic tools of photography with an emphasis on technical skills as well as creative and conceptual approaches. Students learn the basic functions of a camera including shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and basic lighting techniques. Using historical and contemporary photographers as case studies, students are exposed to a diverse range of approaches to photography. Through individual assignments students learn the value of looking at themselves, their immediate surroundings and the world at large. As they do this, students are encouraged to engage with their own personal identity, peers, family, and the Lower East Side.


  • Bard High School Early College Manhattan

    Bard High School Early College Manhattan

    Since its founding in 2001, Bard High School Early College has offered New York City public school students an unparalleled educational opportunity. Through a partnership between Bard College and the New York City Department of Education, we make it possible for students to earn both a high school Regents diploma and an Associate’s Degree in four years—all at no cost to students or families.

  • Photoville


    Founded in 2011 in Brooklyn, NY, Photoville was built on the principles of addressing cultural equity and inclusion, which we are always striving for, by ensuring that the artists we exhibit are diverse in gender, class, and race.

    In pursuit of its mission, Photoville produces an annual, city-wide open air photography festival in New York City, a wide range of free educational community initiatives, and a nationwide program of public art exhibitions.

    By activating public spaces, amplifying visual storytellers, and creating unique and highly innovative exhibition and programming environments, we join the cause of nurturing a new lens of representation.

    Through creative partnerships with festivals, city agencies, and other nonprofit organizations, Photoville offers visual storytellers, educators, and students financial support, mentorship, and promotional & production resources, on a range of exhibition opportunities.

    For more information about Photoville visit,

  • PhotoWings


    We’re honored to continue our partnership with Photoville for our 8th consecutive year, and to celebrate Photoville’s 13th edition!  Each year Photoville provides so many rich, unique, and diverse experiences in and around photography–PhotoWings is thrilled to help enrich this community as Education Partners.

    Our mission is to highlight and help facilitate the power of photography to influence the world. We help photography to be better understood, created, utilized, seen, and saved. We are dedicated to utilizing the power of photography to further deep thinking, communication, and action.

    The PhotoWings Outreach Program and our extensive media archive have myriad educational applications and possibilities, including projects from partners that cross disciplines, generations, and cultures. We also create toolkits/curricula for replication, adaptation and/or inspiration.

    PhotoWings has partnered to document the Photoville Talks for the past five years, to expand the ways the global community can be a part of these important dialogues. Explore the collection of Photoville Talks today!

    Be sure to check out all the Photoville Resources that have been supported in partnership with PhotoWings

    And for more information about PhotoWings, you can visit


Speaking Portraits

 archive : 2023

Featuring: Various Artists

Curated by: Alexis Lambrou Rae Powers

Presented by: Bard High School Early College Manhattan & Photoville, in partnership with PhotoWings
  • Bard High School Early College Manhattan
  • Photoville
  • PhotoWings


ON VIEW AT: Photocube 49

View Location Details Download a detailed map of this location Brooklyn Bridge Park – Emily Warren Roebling Plaza

1 Water St
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Number 1 on the official photoville map Click to download this year's map

This location is part of Brooklyn Bridge Park
Explore other locations and exhibitions nearby

Recipient of the 2023 Photoville & PhotoWings Educator Exhibition Grant

This website was made possible thanks to the generous support and partnership of Photowings