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The Faces of 4-H

Christopher Irion, Photographer

The Faces of 4-H Gallery features images of the 4-H community captured by San Francisco photographer Christopher Irion at the California State Fair using his innovative Photo Booth technique.  Irion has created numerous Photo Booth projects for universities, museums, corporations and civic organizations. The Photo Booth is a small light-weight portable studio that can be transported and set up anywhere.  While it resembles a traditional photo booth, the similarity ends there.  The photographer is actually outside of the booth with his camera inserted through a movable hole; the subjects cannot see him as he selects when to make the exposure and how to frame the image, a process that takes less than 30 seconds. Read More>

By providing a private space in a public place, there is an immediacy and intimacy to the portraits that would not otherwise be obtainable if photographed in full view of the photographer.  Wonderful revelations of character are often possible without the self-censorship or public mask subjects can otherwise bring to the photographic moment.  More importantly, the highly detailed images, when displayed, reflect back a sense of community.

I am honored to be asked to create portraits of 4-H members past and present as I see 4-H in all its permutations as antidote to the loss of responsibility, loss of empathy, loss of respect for property and others, and the loss of our sense of the common good that we see so often in our society. 4H has a great history and a great future!

-Christopher Irion

Christopher Irion’s unique photographic vision is perfectly aligned with our interest in making connections between a community of individuals who have been a part of California 4-H, in the past or currently.  It is estimated that more than 1 million individuals meet this criteria – each with a unique story to tell.  The impact of 4-H on their lives is deeply personal yet the collective experience is in fact the “community” that Irion captures through his photographs and public installations. 

He noted:  “Looking at all the portraits once I was back in the studio, I was struck by the strength in all of those faces, the common grace and inherent dignity; children and once-children who learned the responsibility of daily chores, of creating and seeing a project through to completion and who, in their included quotes, spoke with pride of those accomplishments.”