The artist and Oscar-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen has invited every London primary school to register for a date and time to have its students sit for the project.
Yesterday, director and artist Steve McQueen revealed that next month he’ll embark on one of his most ambitious projects to date—photographing 115,000 seven-year-olds on their first days of secondary school. Inspired by his own childhood memory of sitting for a school picture, Oscar-winning director McQueen wants to capture the moment in time when children are first subject to the politics of the world around them. “When you first start education, things start to change. When you start being aware of gender, when you start being aware of race. When you start being aware of class,” he told the BBC.
Together with Tate Britain, Artangel and A New Direction, McQueen has invited every London primary school to register for a date and time, where a photographer, briefed by McQueen, will come to the classroom to take the portraits. “This is a milestone year in a child’s development and sense of identity when they become more conscious of the world beyond their immediate family”, director of Tate, Maria Balshaw. “This may be the most ambitious project to date.”
Two years in the making, McQueen quickly discovered that documenting every school-going seven- to eight-year-old in the capital is no easy feat. Speaking to the Telegraph, he said: “There have been a lot of legal hurdles we had to clear.” Pupils without consent forms will not be included in the class photo but are still encouraged to take part in any accompanying lessons.