Exposing Identities

Young Photographers Explore Culture, Community, and Self, featuring new works by young photographers.

May 10 - 20, 2007



A Collaboration between the Contemporary Jewish Museum and SF Camerawork's First Exposures: Youth Opportunities Through Photography mentoring program.

After exploring ideas of ethnic, racial, and cultural diversity in The Jewish Identity Project: New American Photography, students reflected on aspects of their own identities, both hidden and visible. Through one-on-one experiences with their mentors and sessions with guest artists Jona Frank (Los Angeles) and Jaime Permuth (New York), students experimented with photographic techniques while honing their skills.

Throughout this three-month process, they reflected on the varied ways in which they convey their identities: clothing, community, behavior, and ritual. Projects on view include interview-based portraits of friends and family, symbolic self-portraits, and photographic series depicting significant rituals.

The youth involved in this project acted as both artists and curators. They not only created the photographs but were also actively involved in the planning, design, and installation of Exposing Identities.

Started in 1993, First Exposures is a unique mentoring/photographic education program for young people sponsored by SF Camerawork. Students ages 11 - 18 are recruited from local agencies serving young people with backgrounds of foster care, homelessness or low-income living situations. Mentors are photographers with a commitment to youth empowerment through education. The goal of the program is to develop a creative outlet for students to express themselves in a safe and supportive environment and to encourage them to grow and become articulate, confident and responsible young adults.


First Exposures is made possible by the Joseph R. Parker Foundation, the Nelson Fund of the Community Foundation Silicon Valley, the Potrero Nuevo Fund of the Tides Foundation, and the Stuart Foundation. Exposing Identities was made possible through generous support from Fred Levin and Nancy Livingston, The Shenson Foundation in memory of Drs. Ben and A. Jess Shenson; The Stanley S. Langendorf Foundation; San Francisco Foundation; and Members of the Contemporary Jewish Museum.

736 Mission Street (btwn. 3rd and 4th Streets), San Francisco, CA 94103 | Hours: Daily 11am–5pm, Thursdays 11am–8pm, Closed Wednesdays | 415.655.7800 | info@thecjm.org