Wendy Ewald: American Alphabets
In this book, conceptual photographer Wendy Ewald researches the ability of language to create barriers or alliances between groups according to gender, age, and race. In collaboration with different groups of children she created four alphabets: a Spanish alphabet with English-as-Second-Language students in North Carolina, an African-American alphabet with students at an elementary school in Cleveland, a White Girls alphabet at a boarding school in Massachusetts, and an Arabic alphabet with students at a middle school in Queens, New York. The children collaborated with Ewald to create photographs of objects they chose to represent each letter of their alphabets, objects they picked with a particular eye to the cultural nature of the alphabet they were defining. The result is a dynamic, colorful, idiosyncratic, and overwhelmingly cross-cultural lexicography.