Any time someone snaps a selfie on campus, they contribute to a larger portrait of the University of Minnesota.
At least that’s what photographer Wing Young Huie said he thinks.
Huie is the artist behind “WE ARE THE OTHER,” a workshop on identity he’s leading at the Weisman Art Museum on Friday. In the interactive session, Huie sets aside time for attendees to take photos with strangers they find on campus.
“The basic idea is to get outside your own bubble and interact with someone on campus you’ve never talked to,” Huie said. “What will end is a communal portrait of the University of Minnesota.”
After majoring in journalism at the University, Huie began pursuing his career as an independent photographer in 1979. Huie’s photo books on Frogtown in St. Paul and Lake Street in Minneapolis document his passion for meeting strangers and photographing them.
“When I’m photographing, I’m always confronted [by] what was in my head with what actually happens when I enter a stranger’s reality,” Huie said. “I’m biased just like everybody, and I’m not even aware of my biases. But photographing gets me outside of my own personal, cultural, technological bubble.”
During the seminar, Huie encourages everyone to talk to someone they’re not familiar with. After dividing the audience in pairs, Huie gives each group a blackboard to use for what he calls a “chalk talk” — a conversation built on open-ended questions.
For “WE ARE THE OTHER,” Huie wants his audience to reflect on identity.
“I ask questions that aren’t easy to answer, like, ‘What are you?’ ” Huie said. “Another question is, ‘How do you think other people see you? What don’t they see?’ I think it’s useful to think about how you appear to other people.”
During the chalk talk, each pair writes something interesting from their conversation on their blackboard, creating physical representations of the connections they’ve built.
Once the chalk talks are finished, each pair will take a photo together and share it with the Weisman via Instagram.
Beyond connecting people, Huie approaches the challenges, ethics and feelings of talking to a stranger, and how a person’s biases contribute to that conversation with “WE ARE THE OTHER.”
“How you look at a photograph shows you how you look at life,” Huie said.
The photographer also explores authenticity in images, a theme he feels is important for college-aged people to consider.
“[This] generation has probably seen more photographs in the last six months than in the history of mankind,” Huie said. “Whatever that number is, how many of them do you think are authentic? This is what I will ask the audience.”
WE ARE THE OTHER: Get Outside of Your Bubble
Where Weisman Art Museum, 333 E. River Parkway, Minneapolis
When 1 p.m. Friday
Cost Free; reserve tickets