A fifth-grade subject of School describes the photographs in the book: "The pictures give a pretty good idea of the class, and how we are, except there's one thing missing. The teacher. She's not in the pictures. And I think she should be.... Sometimes I think he [Nicholas Nixon] takes pictures of people's feelings. Like when they're bored, and talking, or just sitting around, waiting. Or they're excited."
In fact, Nixon's incisive black-and-white portraits of schoolchildren at three Boston-area schools--Cambridge Elementary School, Perkins School for the Blind, and Boston Latin School--are just one part of the collaboration between the photographer and Pulitzer Prize-winning child psychiatrist Robert Coles. A three-part essay by Coles on the state of American schools--exploring the challenges and triumphs of both the students who attend them and the educators who teach there--accompanies the photographs. Taken together, the words and images combine to present a penetrating document of what goes on behind the classroom door. The words of schoolchildren of various ages and from different backgrounds peppered throughout the book add an extra dimension to this unique portrait of the experience of school. [via]