SouthfieldJuly 25, 2012
Young photographers hope to see work published in diversity book
By Jessica Strachan
C & G Staff Writer
DETROIT — With 15 years of local youths’ photography work, the Detroit area nonprofit Focus: HOPE is working to reach its fundraising goal to produce a retrospective book on diversity.
The Kickstarter campaign has until Aug. 3 to reach the goal of the $8,300 needed to publish a book of dramatic black-and-white photographs taken by high school students participating in the organization’s Focus on the Mission program since 1996. So far, they’ve raised almost $5,000.
The 120 selected photos reflect the teens’ views on cultural diversity in the Detroit area and will be made into a coffee table book.
Southfield native Lindsey Turner, 20, not only had her first photograph from the program exhibited, but said she found her calling as a professional photographer through a 2006 photo she shot, which will be included in the book.
She was in ninth grade at Southfield High School at that time, and she stumbled upon two men sitting on a curb, chatting and laughing at Eastern Market, she remembers.
“The two men were a couple. I saw them sitting there and they looked so happy. Everyone was staring at them, but they didn’t mind. They were so comfortable in their own skin,” Turner, a photojournalism senior at Columbia College in Chicago, said. “It was the first photo I ever got published, and I still have it here with me in Chicago. I’m very proud of that one.”
Turner’s photo of the two showed her that her interest in photography was more like a passion, in addition to helping the then-shy Turner interact with people whom she wanted to capture on her camera, she explained.
Turner also found her mentor through the Focus: HOPE program, and still maintains contact with other Southfield and Detroit-area students who were taking part.
“I always had an interest in photography; I never thought I’d get to make a career out of it, though.”
Annette Vanover, who oversees the program and serves as manager of Focus: HOPE’s Community Arts Department, said that seeing the artwork together that has meaning to local youth is something they are very excited about.
“Publishing a photo retrospective of these talented teens’ work has been a longtime dream of ours,” she said.
If the fundraising goal is reached to produce the book, the teens’ selected photos, along with written statements about what the photos mean to them, will be included.
Focus: HOPE’s Focus on the Mission program is an annual leadership and diversity program that brings together high school students from across the metro Detroit area to explore and discuss issues like racism, poverty and injustice. The retrospective book shines a light on how youth are expressing themselves in such issues.
“This is such a great project. The photographs provide interesting insight into our young people’s perspectives on racial and economic issues over the past several years,” said Focus: HOPE CEO William F. Jones Jr. in a press release. “We sincerely hope our friends will get involved and help us meet our fundraising goal.”
Pledges can be made by visiting kickstarter.com and searching for “Focus: HOPE.” Supporters will be charged for their donation, and the book will be published only if the fundraising goal is reached by the deadline.
If the fundraising goal is reached, Focus: HOPE will celebrate the publication of the book at a book-signing and reception in November at the re-opening of the Detroit Historical Museum. Focus: HOPE also will be featured in a new historical exhibition at the museum.
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