About the Photographer
White, Wendel A.
American, b. 1956
For his "Schools for the Colored" (2007) series, Wendel A. White depicts the buildings and sites of historically segregated schools for African Americans, focusing primarily on locations in the so-called "free states" along the border of the North and South, which had a larger concentration of African American communities. White directly references a well-known passage in The Souls of Black Folks (1903) by W.E.B. Du Bois in which he describes an experience he had among white classmates as a child: "Then it dawned upon me with a certain suddenness that I was different from the others, or like, mayhap, in heart and life and longing, but shut out from their world by a vast veil." White visualizes Du Bois's notion of this veil of prejudice, using digital imaging software to mask out the landscape around each of the schools. The effect is to isolate the "schools for the colored" from their surroundings, which then remain only partially accessible to the viewer as well. White also adopts different vantage points when photographing different buildings, a choice that subtly stresses an implied viewing position in architectural or landscape photographs. White encourages us to think about our position in relation to the building, and thus, possibly, to its history or how it relates to social conditions today.
Wendel White received a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City (1980) and a MFA in Photography from the University of Texas at Austin (1982). Wendel White is currently Professor of Art at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.