a few weeks ago I started working with Youth in Focus.

“Youth in Focus’s mission is to empower urban youth, through photography, to experience their world in new ways and to make positive choices for their lives. We accomplish this mission by building a community of support around high school-aged youth and providing these students with a sequential series of photography classes—in both film and digital media—that are specifically designed to build a sense of self-worth, social skills, artistic sensibility, and self-expression.” – from the Youth in Focus Mission.

This is a group I’d been wanting to get involved with for sometime, and now, the timing was finally right. I’m working with a small group of kids, one other mentor and an instructor who’s passion for photography is truly inspiring. The kids are at various levels, using different kinds of cameras, but it boils down to one thing, simply, they are interested and want to explore the world through the lens.

Prior to the quarter starting I went to a “meet and greet”, with all of the students for all of the classes, instructors and mentors alike. The idea was for everyone to meet one another, get to know each other, even if just a little. I recall asking one of the students who was going to be in the Digital class, what she liked to take pictures of. Her reply, “I like to take pictures of things that are important to me, like my family and the environment”. I was blown away and knew, that this was going to be a great experience.

Thus far throughout the course there have been homework assignments, for example one was to stop or show motion by controlling your shutter speed, another is self-portraits. Then they bring in their homework assignment to edit, print and critique. Yep, it’s pretty hard-core, but really amazing to participate in the discussions.

Yesterday, myself, two other mentors and the instructor strolled the streets of the International District with the students in the class, exploring the neighbourhood with new eyes, fresh eyes, talking about ideas, perspective and just being open to what’s around. It, was a lot of fun.

I wanted to share a few of my fave shots from the stroll…

Zorn, instructor extraordinaire.

zorn

Stella

stella

Bird on a Wire

bird on a wire

Chair and Table

table and chair

Water Taxi

water taxi

P.S. if this sounds at all fun to you, you could get involved too, or donate, or something…. 🙂