What would happen if you asked high school students to help create a 21st-century portrait of the country by turning their cameras on their neighborhoods, families, friends and schools?
You would have “My Hometown” — a vibrant documentary published by The New York Times of 4,289 images submitted by teenagers in school or community-based photography programs across the United States, including rural villages and urban neighborhoods, wealthy suburbs and blue-collar Rust Belt towns. Bridgeport High School in Bridgeport, West Virginia was one of four schools in West Virginia to participate in the contest.
The New York Times announced Thursday, September 19th, that former Bridgeport High School student Bennett Queen had four photos featured in the project.
While participants only photographed their own communities, together, the images create an important and lasting document of America today as seen by teenagers. They are published today in an interactive feature that opens with a special selection of 145 photographs which includes two (2) by Ben Queen. Many of the images will be archived at the Library of Congress in the Prints and Photographs Division.
The project was inspired by the New York Times belief in the power of photography as an educational tool, and by a desire to help young people communicate the way they see their lives and their communities.
Queen's photos that were featured in the special release today (attached) included one taken at the funeral of Deputy U.S. Marshal Derek Hotsinpiller. Hotsinpiller was a graduate of Bridgeport High School. He was killed in the line of duty. The other Queen photo was of Bridgeport High School senior running back Brett Hathaway. Hathaway had just completed the final game of his high school career. Hathaway was being embraced by an emotional Jeff Hathaway, the running back's father and coach.