“I strive to use my White Privilege to create and sustain opportunities for others who were not born with it. It is the best thing I can do for myself, my family and my country.” – Scott Lapham
Scott Lapham was born in Massachusetts in 1968 and came to Providence to attend the Rhode Island School of Design. His photographic series have explored neighborhoods, people and cultural trends that are often perceived to have little social worth. Within these communities, he looks to find emotional value, historic relevance and an appreciation for lives being lived in places often ignored. He has applied these same observations to the coastline where he creates “sculptural snapshots” from the flotsam and jetsam that accumulate on the ocean’s shore. Lapham’s art educational work includes running AS220’s youth photography program, mentoring underserved youth in the Rhode Island Training School and in the wider Providence youth community.
His feature and video interview were published in the 2011-2012 issue of the Networks Project which featured fifteen Rhode Island based Artists across a broad spectrum of media and interests.
About the Artist: Scott Lapham
Scott is a committed youth educator using his talents to engage and provide opportunities in underserved communities. We partnered with Scott back in October-November 2018 to produce One Gun Gone: Thoughts and Prayers are Not Enough a juried photography exhibition addressing gun violence in America to support his One Gun Gone initiative. Assembled from a national call for entries by juror Boris Bally, the exhibition was the third in a series designed to provide opportunities to support positive change in the community. The One Gun Gone youth based project was launched to provide a vehicle for students to process and react to gun violence in their lives and communities and in the process fund a local gun by back program. Participants take part in a professional art making and marketing exercise that provides immersive experiences at an art college, an advertising agency, a community youth arts center and positive interactions with local law enforcement agencies.
One Gun Gone was launched by Scott in reaction to the passing of four of his teenage students from gun violence over the past fifteen years.
Scott Lapham: in his own words…
“When I started working with youth from urban communities more than 25 years ago I had not heard the terms White Privilege or Systemic Racism. In juvenile detention my students were predominately black and brown. The few white kids incarcerated there were poor. Without an academic analysis to guide my world view, it became clearer to me how our society sorts itself in terms of race and class. These incarcerated kids were not in any substantive way different from the middle class white kids I grew up with or the mostly rich kids I taught in private school. What was hard to articulate but I became increasingly aware of was that I had a shield against the worst my society could dish out and more potential to access the best it had to offer. That shield, that potential is White Privilege which is supported by Systemic Racism. I will continue to use my White Privilege to create and sustain opportunities for others who were not born with it. It is the best thing I can do for myself, my family and my country.”
A selection of work from…
Rhode Island Training School Bed Rooms
An video Interview with NetWorks Photographer Scott Lapham
Source: NetWorks 2011-2012 Catalogue
You can find more about Scott on his website at https://scottlaphamprojects.format.com