DescriptionChi P.Beginning Black & WhiteSummer 2010On many nights in the last year, I remember being awake and watching time pass by as minutes all of a sudden turn into hours. In these moments, as the night inched closer to sunrise and in the midst of my chaotically routine schedule, Id wish for the power to slow down or pause time. This summer, I was granted my wish. I found a way to humanly intervene with time: photography. Through the art of photography, I have not only been able to freeze split seconds of time on special sheets of white paper, but time also slowed down for me in the darkroom. The world racing outside all of a sudden became irrelevant, as I was engulfed in darkness. The intricate train of random thoughts racing through my brain all of a sudden ceased, as I focused only on experimenting with the aesthetics of the photograph. In the stillness of the darkroom, I enjoyed the anticipation of watching the frozen moment of time appear on photography paper and the bliss of my newfound discovery on how to pause time. The photographs showcased are frozen moments in time that I want to share with the world. The captured images are special bits of my life. Encrypted in these photographs is a message to myself: to never forget to take the time to enjoy the warm sunlight rays, to be mesmerized by the Seattle skyline, and to always release little Chi (my inner child).
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.