The thing I love about these photographs is that there are two subjects: the children themselves and the surrounding classroom, which takes on a significant meaning in all these photos.
From the beginning I was interested in the environment, and after I played around with the subject for a little while, I settled on the idea of photographing the whole class. In a traditional class photo, the official photographer will go into the gym and the photograph will take place in front of a curtain or a brick wall—some kind of blank environment. And so from the beginning I was interested in showing all of the kids—I like the philosophy behind the traditional class photo, which is to include everyone...And at the same time, even though you can have a class of 20, 30, 40 or more kids depending on where you are, I really think that every person in those photographs gets individual attention, because I have to pay individual attention to make sure they are each in the photograph. And it all has to take place relatively quickly, because everything happens in a real lesson. In no case was this ever a gathering of kids getting together especially to have their photograph taken. In every case this is a real math lesson, a real science lesson, a real religious instruction lesson, and the lesson happens as normal. I just take 15 minutes at the end to make a portrait.