Camilo Vergara working with LA college students
Where We Live: Student Perspectives was a collaboration among the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Museum Photographs Council, and four community colleges in the greater Los Angeles area. The project paired contemporary photographers with students, who created photographs inspired by the Getty Museum exhibition Where We Live: Photographs of America from the Berman Collection.

In November 2006, four photographers featured in the exhibition Where We Live worked with students from community colleges:

  • William Christenberry worked with Los Angeles Valley College
  • Karen Halverson worked with College of the Canyons
  • Alex Harris worked with Santa Monica College
  • Camilo José Vergara worked with East Los Angeles Community College

William Christenberry working with LA college students
After studying the exhibition, students met the photographers at the Getty Museum, discussed photography with them, and set off into their own Los Angeles neighborhoods to take pictures.

Working with their own photography professors, the students chose their three best photographs to submit to the Getty for a juried exhibition. The jury included a Getty Museum curator, a Getty Museum educator, and a member of the Getty Museum Photographs Council.

The final exhibition, titled Where We Live: Student Perspectives, opened at Los Angeles Valley College on February 20, 2007, and traveled to each of the participating campuses.

The exhibition was on view at the participating community colleges:

L.A. Valley College
February 20–March 29, 2007

College of the Canyons
August 27–September 22, 2007

Santa Monica College
October 1–27, 2007

East L.A. Community College
November 5–December 7, 2007

View the students' photographs online.

All aspects of this education project—from bringing the mentoring photographers to Los Angeles, to framing the photographs for exhibition—were made possible by the generosity of the Getty Museum Photographs Council and the enthusiastic participation of the photographers, faculty, students, and Getty Museum staff. The Getty Museum Photographs Council is a support group of collectors and professionals whose contributions and expertise augment the Museum's photography programs.

About the Photographers

William Christenberry focuses on the landscape and vernacular architecture around his childhood home in Alabama. He currently teaches at the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, DC, but he returns to Alabama annually to record changing landscapes and structures.
Learn more about William Christenberry.

Karen Halverson photographs people and places around the world. She recently returned to her native New York State after living in Los Angeles since 1991 and publishing the book Looking at Los Angeles in 2005.
Learn more about Karen Halverson.

Alex Harris evokes a rich human presence in his photographs of his subjects' homes, their gardens, and roads. His projects have taken him to North Carolina, New Mexico, and Alaska, and resulted in several books. He is professor of the Practice of Public Policy Studies, a founder of the Center for Documentary Photography, and a member of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.
Learn more about Alex Harris.

Camilo José Vergara has documented poor, minority communities in the built environment in New York City, Chicago, Detroit, Newark, Los Angeles, and 16 other cities. He returns regularly to re-photograph the same sites to develop a photographic record of transformations. He views these pictures as starting points, the beginnings of narratives about the changing identity of place.
Learn more about Camilo José Vergara.