Children on film

UH professor captures Spanish students in art

by Jessica Ellis

Daily Cougar Staff

The O'Kane Gallery at the University of Houston -Downtown presents The Fragile Thread: Lives of Spanish-Speaking Children In Houston, a photography exhibit featuring the work of UH adjunct Professor Marie Theresa Hern˝ndez and Fernando Castro, running through Oct. 13.

The black and white photography exhibit features portraits of Hispanic students at Houston's Poe Elementary School.

As a counselor for a year and a half at Poe Elementary, now-UH adjunct anthropology/Mexican American studies Professor Hern˝ndez became acquainted with the children on a personal level. She also works as a supervisor at the Mental Health- Mental Retardation Authority of Harris County, Southside Clinic.

Hern˝ndez brought her camera to work and the children responded well to the camera's presence at school.

"It's a way of maintaining that particular millisecond," she said of the advantage of still photography as a medium.

She and Castro, Poe fourth grade bilingual teacher, took photographs of the students at school and at the children's homes.

As a photographer, Hern˝ndez takes her camera "everywhere," including funerals. She is working on the Poe elementary children project as well as one on Mexican Americans and death and another project onwomen's issues.

Hern˝ndez's photography has been published in the Houston Chronicle, Photo Review and SPOT.

Her previous photo exhibition contributions include the 1994 Spring Foto Fest and the 1995 Texas Photographic Society Members Exhibition.

Hern˝ndez teaches Mexican American Culture, an upper-division anthropology course. This fall is her first semester as a lecturer at UH.

Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. UH-Downtown is located at 1 Main Street. For more information, call 221-8042. Admission to the gallery is free.

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