DescriptionAmber R. Intermediate Black & WhiteWinter 2010I’ve never loved photography nor loathed it as much as I do now. Don’t get me wrong, photography is beautiful, one of the most enthralling pieces of art, but it’s also time consuming and every photographer strives for perfection.Photography, strangely enough, related to this theme of alter ego, and I understand it much better from dwelling so deeply into it. A photographer has an alter ego within their photography: they love it, but they loathe it. If you do not love it, you will not pursue it; if you do not loathe it, you won’t improve it.I will never understand the sides of a photographer to its fullest, but every time I place a piece of paper into the developer and watch as it slowly comes to life, I feel a little more at home.This print was shot at random in Chinatown while awaiting the group of dragon dancers. Once I had actually developed the image, I noticed that there was a story behind it. In this photo, a man in a mask is dancing through the crowd with the dragons. After studying this picture, I realized it was perfect for the theme of alter ego. The man behind the mask is just a normal man, but once he puts on the mask, his world changes. He’s engulfed in his own culture and spreads the word of the celebration by becoming another individual.
Youth In Focus, Seattle Member Since May 2009 Artist Statement 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 put cameras in the hands of low income, at-risk youth and place them in a challenging environment surrounded by high quality talented teachers, nurturing adult volunteer mentors, and create a strong community of support. Through photography our students find their voice, identity, creativity, and gain new confidence in their worth and abilities.
Why Youth in Focus?
(Critical Time) We work with youth, 13-19 years of age, who face a variety of challenges in their lives on a daily basis, and who struggle with a combination of race, poverty or homophobia. At Youth in Focus, we feel that we reach at-risk youth at a crucial time – at or before the 9th grade – when 90% of the majority of youth that drop out of high school do during that year.
(Statistics) Nearly 73% of our students qualify for the free/reduced lunch program, 82% are students of color, and 70% live with a single parent or have other living arrangements. In 19 years, Youth in Focus has had more than 2,800 youth go through our free youth development photography program.
(Exceptional Standards) Youth Program Quality Assessment (YPQA) scores for Youth in Focus, in 2011 and 2012, were consistently higher than comparison scores for 1,216 other National Youth programs.
(Direct Attention) We intentionally keep our classes small to facilitate maximum student-adult interaction and relationship building. Youth in Focus creates a healthy, positive place where diverse students feel they belong.
(Nationally Recognized) The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities recognized Youth in Focus as a model program in 2000, providing “life-changing activities” to youth with limited opportunities. Our students have shown their work at the Seattle Art Museum, Henry Art Gallery and the Washington State Convention Center. Click here to see the feature KING 5 did on us recently.