Graham offers a sneak peek of his new book, "Chasing Time"

University of Montana J-school associate professor Keith Graham admits that, after spending his career practicing and teaching journalism, it’s a little strange to be on the receiving end of the recent media attention generated by his new project, “Chasing Time: Last of the Active One-Room Schools in Montana.”
“I think I was a lousy interview,” Graham quips.
Despite Graham’s admitted challenges delivering concise interviews, the statewide media coverage of “Chasing Time,” including articles in the Missoulian and the Missoula Independent, indicates that he and project collaborator, Rocky Mountain School of Photography owner Neil Chaput de Saintonge, have captured the public imagination with their new project.
In 2013, the two photographers set out to chronicle life in the state’s remaining one-room schools. They took to the highways and backroads, logging thousands of miles. In north central Montana, Graham and Chaput found Hutterite children attending classes in suspenders and bonnets at North Harlem Colony School. In eastern Montana, they captured an image of a young boy studying under a desk at Kester School. With 15 enrolled students, Kester School in 2014 had a larger student body than any other one-room school in Montana.

Hutterite children attend classes in suspenders and bonnets at North Harlem Colony School.Chasing Time chronicles a way of life that, as Graham notes, is rapidly disappearing. In 1913, 212,000 one-room schools across the country educated half of all American schoolchildren. Roughly 200 of the schools remain today; 75 of them are in Montana.

When complete, “Chasing Time” will include a 200-page book of images and a documentary film featuring footage captured by Graham. During an Aug. 7 First Friday Artists’ reception at the Missoula Art Museum, locals will have a chance to view an exhibit of 50 images from the project and get a preview of the forthcoming book. Graham and Chaput will also be on hand to discuss “Chasing Time.” The photographers will deliver a more detailed presentation at the MAM on Aug. 8 between 10 and noon.

The museum's “Chasing Time” exhibit continues through Sept. 19.

Posted on August 5, 2015.