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Islamic World Studies

Portraits 4 People is art that sparks discussion

Imagine photographs of people in India. Are they destitute, beggars, emaciated children?  Do you see exotic ritual or heartbreaking tragedy? These are the images that have been presented to Western audiences since the earliest Colonial explorers used the new medium of photography to document their finds.

Lake Forest College’s Islamic World Studies Program invites us to examine our expectations about those whose culture is different from our own. Work by lecturer and artist, ML Frank, will be exhibited as part of a week-long ‘conversation’, including workshops, community discussions, films and lectures, February 1-10.

The exhibit will take place in multiple venues around campus, showing images from Portraits 4 People, Frank’s ‘experimental photography events’ where she created portraits of those whom we rarely see as they wish to be seen.  Frank photographs real people, and each portrait is collaboration between subject and photographer.  

These ‘photography experiences’ challenge subjects’ assumptions about self-image and control.  The work begs us, the viewers, to recognize the impact that centuries of Colonial imagery has left, and juxtaposes it with reality.

The week-long program is truly an interdisciplinary effort funded by multiple departments and programs (see below).  All events are free and open to the public.

This program is presented by Lake Forest College’s Islamic World Studies Program with support from the following departments at Lake Forest College: History, Asian Studies, Off Campus Programs, Learning Teaching Center, Intercultural Relations, Dean of Faculty and the Christopher C. Mojekwu Memorial Fund for Intercultural Understanding.


Portraits 4 People