Photographer Patrick “Pato” Herbert collaborated with members of the school community at Horace Mann Academic Middle School in San Francisco to create a series of 14 photographic murals. The murals presented color panoramic photographs of students. One large (eight by eighteen foot piece) was placed on the school’s exterior facing Valencia Street, and the others were installed on interior walls. At the time of his project, Look at Me When I’m Talking to You, Hebert had taught photography as an artist-in-residence at the school. New to Hebert in this collaboration were the medium of murals and the use of a medium format panoramic camera.
Hebert’s process for his Creative Work Fund project involved multiple layers of interaction with the school community. As he took photographs, he distributed wallet-sized contact prints to students on a weekly basis, enabling them to collect and judge the imagery throughout the process. Simultaneously, he met quarterly with the school’s governing body, a community council and a selection committee comprising students, school staff, and parents, who helped to direct, edit, and mount the images. The preliminary round of edits were shared with the community in the fall of 1997, and the final fourteen images were formally unveiled in May 1998.