Local high school student’s book and photography exhibit captures ‘Utah’s Latin America in Black and White’
Emma Greally will give two presentations next week
Parkite Emma Greally relied on her love for photography, the Spanish language and her Latino friends to create her book, “Utah’s Latin America in Black and White.”
The bilingual book, which was published in April, features portraits and short biographies of nine individuals who left their native countries to pursue the American Dream.
Greally’s work caught the attention of the Park City Library staff, who not only invited her to participate in Utah Humanities Book Festival discussions about the local Latino populations, but also showcase the portraits in an art exhibit at the library.
“All of this is pretty incredible,” said Greally, a senior at the Waterford School in Sandy. “I’m still in high school, so I’m humbled to be included among such a distinguished group of authors who are participating in the book festival. I feel so lucky to consider the other authors my peers.”
Greally will give presentations of “Represent Us! Conversation with Emma Greally,” next week. The first will be on Sept. 13, and in English, and the other will be on Sept. 14, and held in Spanish. Both presentations will start at 6 p.m. and be held at the Park City Library, she said.
The discussions will be moderated by Daniel Thurston, the library’s Spanish services librarian, and feature Kiara Lopez, one of the subjects in Greally’s book.
Lopez is a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient who graduated from Park City High School and is now studying at Utah State University.
“She is one of my best friends, and she will be there to give her perspectives,” Greally said.
The presentations will also highlight an exhibit of Greally’s photos that are currently on display at the Park City Library.
“Showing an exhibit at the library is pretty incredible,” the photographer said. “I love the Park City Library, and my preschool was in that building. I feel so fortunate to share my artwork in a place that has values that align with mine, and they were so incredible to allow me to have a platform.”
The roots for “Utah’s Latin America in Black and White,” which is available at Amazon and other online booksellers, can be traced back to Greally’s childhood where she participated in Park City School District’s dual-immersion program.
“From first grade up through part of high school, I would spend half my days in Spanish and the other half in English,” she said. “Many of the community’s Latinx kids were in my class, and there were no biases or social pressures that influenced our classroom.”
As Greally grew older, she started noticing signs of discrimination and biases directed at her friends. By the time she was a sophomore, she wanted to do something about it.
“At first didn’t know really how to address problems like discrimination and prejudice that has reached into every crack in our lives,” she said. “But I do love photography. I am fluent in Spanish and I feel very fortunate to have connections with Latin-American Utahns who have made such a huge impact in our state and in Park City.”
So Greally combined those passions, and recruited one of her teachers, Andrew Patteson, Waterford’s art department chairman, to create her book that would help break down misconceptions about the local Latino population.
“Oftentimes people will stereotype them and paint a whole community with an unflattering broad brush,” Greally said. “I wanted to change that.”
The photos are mostly of people Greally has known for years.
“They are actually some of my old teachers or people who have worked with the Park City Community Foundation,” she said. “Some are very close friends, and some were referred to me by my friends. They are all such incredible community members who have done so much for our town.”
The book started as an independent study project at Waterford, she said.
“Mr. Patteson has been incredibly supportive throughout the whole project,” Greally said. “He helped guide me with the printing, the framing and how to edit things.”
Greally decided to shoot the photos in black and white as a symbol to address issues regarding race and equity.
“I also wanted to address the issue of race when it comes to the immigration debate, because these aren’t black-and-white or binary problems we’re facing,” she said.
Greally is grateful to her subjects for not only allowing her to shoot and publish their photos, but also allow her to tell their stories.
“I’ve seen what personal stories can do,” she said. “They can spark more empathy. They can spur someone into learning about something and finding out what they can do.”
When: 6 p.m., Tuesday. Sept. 13
Where: Park City Library. 1255 Park Ave.
When: 6 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 13
Where: Park City Library, 1255 Park Ave.
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