Through the Lens of Social Justice

LH Horton Jr Gallery presents:

Through the Lens of Social Justice
Gallery Photography Exhibition 
November 10 – December 10, 2021 

Virtual Reception and Awards Presentation 
with Exhibition Juror, Makeda Best, 
Curator of Photography, Harvard Art Museums 
November 10 • 5:30 – 6:30pm 
Event Recording

WordsOutspoken Live Summit
Presented by Community Medical Centers of Stockton
Hosted by the LH Horton Jr Gallery
November 20, 2021

"The arts can play a powerful role in healing youth who face emotional challenges. The “WordsOutspoken Live” virtual summit presented talented local performers through poetry and spoken word to explore mental health, substance use, and community trauma, to heal through expression." 

Event Recording

The Gallery will present a slide show of the exhibition with commentary and the awards presentation by the exhibition juror, Makeda Best. Awards will be presented for Best of Show $600, 2nd Place $400, and 3rd Place $300. The awards are funded by the Horton Art Gallery’s national Call for Entries. 

CAPS logoThank you to the Delta College Cultural Awareness Program for
sponsoring this event. 


Through the Lens of Social Justice photography exhibition presents a range of photographic images reflecting concepts of social justice involving race, gender, disabilities, LGBTQ+; immigration, economic disparity, housing insecurity, and environmental injustice, among others. Exhibition juror, Makeda Best, Curator of Photography at Harvard Art Museums, selected 15 photographers for the exhibition and 30 works from the Gallery’s national Call for Entries. Included from the Stockton and Delta College arts community is photographer and current student, Christian Bustos, and former student, Adreanna Rodriguez. The exhibition provides a variety of photographic techniques and styles, ranging from traditional analogue photography to contemporary digital manipulations. 


Exhibiting Artists 

(Click on photo/name for more information and details.) 
To purchase artwork, please visit or contact the Gallery Director: 

 Gallery Hours: T-W-Th 11am-2pm and by appointment 


Exhibition Juror  

Makeda Best 
Curator of Photography at Harvard Art Museums  

Makeda BestMakeda Best is the Richard L. Menschel Curator of Photography at the Harvard Art Museums. Her exhibitions include: Time is Now – Photography and Social Change in James Baldwin’s America (2018), Winslow Homer: Eyewitness, and Crossing Lines, Constructing Home: Displacement and Belonging in Contemporary Art (2019). Her fall 2021 exhibition is Devour the Land: War and American Landscape Photography Since 1970. Prior to joining Harvard, she held professorships at the University of Vermont and the California College of the Arts. She has written for numerous catalogs and journals, most recently for the National Gallery of Poland, Kunsthalle Mannheim, The Archives of American Art Journal, The James Baldwin Review and the Rhode Island School of the Design’s Manual. Her book is Elevate the Masses – Alexander Gardner, Photography and Democracy in Nineteenth Century America (Penn State Press, 2020). She is co-editor of Conflict, Identity and Protest in American Art (2016). Her current book projects explore the intersection between photography, gender, race, and ecological issues. She is the co-curator, with Kevin Moore, of the 2022 FotoFocus Biennial. At Harvard, she teaches courses in curatorial practice, and in the history and theory of photography. She holds an MFA in studio photography from the California Institute of the Arts and a PhD from Harvard University. 


Juror’s Statement  

Black Lives Matter protests, an unhoused man living in Houston, immigration, micro-aggressions, climate change, mothers and daughters, sons and their forbearers. With sensitivity and bravery, the artists featured in Through the Lens of Social Justice show us the world we live in and new interpretations of the role of photography as personal expression, documentation, and call to action. The subjects raise their fists, and they raise their hands. The subjects look at us and through us, and at society. Captions speak through languages of defiance and hope. This impressive mix of formats, strategies and topics features works by photographers at various points in their careers. Visitors will encounter works made by practitioners who found their way to the medium through various paths. They are trained and self-taught, and others, as the children of makers, saw the medium as their calling too.  

For some of these artists, investigations of history, culture, and geography contribute to layered intergenerational dialogue. Others project into the future, simultaneously with a sense of urgency and sensitivity – asking, through a global chorus of voices, us to consider the world future generations will inherit. Politics are embedded in these pictures, but so is a kind of intimacy and vulnerability. A significant theme is the respect for the voices of young, and a desire to express reverence for and to recover the lives and contributions of elders and those who have passed on. The background, the soundtrack, for many of these works, is the pandemic and its attendant reckonings. Rather than detachment, these photographers sought out and confront us with images of deep engagement. It is fitting that many of these works are “portraits.” With consistency, the viewer meets face to face with a stranger. In this way, we are reminded of the ethics, stakes, and collaborative nature unique to the medium. The images feature individuals engaging with the camera, but the figures function as syphers for the moods, feelings, and convictions for a collective unseen beyond the frame. Fitting for the mission of an academic museum to build the aesthetic, technical, cultural, and historical context of the arts, the works call into question the conventions of established genres, while engaging in political and cultural critique.