About the Border and Inset Photographs:
The photographs assembled here are from High Risk, Like It Is, and Like It Is, Too, three documentary portrait projects that Research & Creative Activity photographer Tyagan Miller produced between fall 1992 and spring 1996. The subjects are teenagers who have been expelled or otherwise removed for disciplinary reasons from the Indianapolis public school system. As such, they became eligible to attend New Beginnings High School, Roberts Academy, or Horizon Middle School, the alternative schools of the Indianapolis public school system that are devoted to meeting the special needs of these high-risk students.
The term "high risk" refers, here, to students whose academic and behavioral problems at school are both chronic and critical. Rarely is this the result of the students' intellects. Rather, beneath these symptoms of failure lie social, familial, and personal issues that leave these teenagers in danger of dropping out of school and thus predisposing them to lifelong experiences of deprivation, alienation, crime, and violence. "I see these photographs as portraits of irony," Miller says. "On the one hand, they describe young people who are at high risk of slipping through the gaps in our social support networks. On the other hand, they record the faces of survivors."Photographs from High Risk have been exhibited at the Waldron Arts Center in Bloomington and the IUB School of Education. Portions of the project have been published in Indiana Review (spring 1996) and in Journal: The Magazine of the Indiana School Boards Association (spring 1995). The work is funded in part by the Indiana Arts Commision.