Photographer John Huet’s larger-than-life portraits of “Boston Uncornered” students, many of them former gang members, are the centerpiece of an outdoor exhibition at the Boston Common August 13-25. “Boston Uncornered” is a project of College Bound Dorchester (CBD), a non-profit dedicated to reducing violence on Boston streets by helping former or current gang members earn high school equivalency degrees, and then get into and graduate from college. “They become champions of positive changing…showing others a better way,” CBD says.
The outdoor exhibition, called the Uncornered Photo Documentary Project, will feature more than two dozen 5’ x 8’ portraits. Besides Boston Uncornered students, the portraits include CBD staff and Boston city leaders. Each portrait is accompanied by the a brief personal story, in the words of the sitter, about how they turned their life around—or became “uncornered,” in CBD parlance.
Huet shot the portraits as a pro-bono project starting in 2018. Huet says he hasn’t shot many portraits on a plain white backgrounds since he published Soul of the Game, his 1997 book about street basketball. “That had me thinking: Maybe I should try new things on a white background,” he says. For the Boston Uncornered portraits, the white backgrounds suggest the vulnerability of the sitters, while drawing the viewer’s attention to their individual characters and strengths.
The “Uncornered” exhibition was produced in partnership with Cambridge-based PJA Advertising + Marketing.