Southern New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois may not be the first states that spring to mind when discussing America’s endemic racism, but in a surreal and haunting series of images, photographer Wendel White captures the lingering remnants of a segregated past in the northern regions that bordered the southern slave states. Schools for the Colored, a body of work that developed from White’s ongoing project Small Towns, Black Lives, documents the buildings and landscapes of the segregated U.S. educational system in the decades before the civil rights movement. In his stark black-and-white imagery of both longstanding structures and crumbling and long-since-demolished buildings, White obscures the details of the surroundings: street scenes, trees, and other elements near the schools vanish into a hazy mantle of white. In cases where the structures no longer stand, White inserts silhouettes of the schoolhouses that formerly occupied the sites. White’s obscuring of the surroundings in these works was inspired by sociologist W.E.B. Du Bois’ memory of attending school as a youth, recounted in his 1903 book The Souls of Black Folk: “I was different from the others; or like, mayhap, in heart and life and longing, but shut out from their world by a vast veil.” 

Schools for the Colored is one of two exhibitions hosted by Photo-eye Bookstore (376 Garcia St.) in conjunction with Review Santa Fe, the annual festival and conference on photography sponsored by Center — a nonprofit dedicated to the advancement of the photographic arts and to the professional development of photographers — scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 2, to Sunday, Nov. 6. 

White is a recipient of Center’s Project Launch Juror’s Choice award, along with Álvaro Laiz for his series The Hunter, and Laura Morton for her project Wild West Tech. The Project Launch Grant — awarded for outstanding documentary projects or fine art series, and one of Center’s most prestigious awards, — went to Russian photographer Elena Anosova for Section, an intimate look at the lives of incarcerated women in Russia. Anosova’s work is on exhibit in a Project Grant Winners Exhibition at Photo-eye’s main gallery (541 S. Guadalupe St.). The exhibit is a two-person show that includes photographs from Megan E. Doherty’s black-and-white series Back of the Yards. Doherty is the winner of Center’s major Project Development Grant, awarded to fund in-progress fine art, documentary, or photojournalistic projects.