Española YMCA Teen Center Photography Class Opens New World Of Creativity And Visual Thinking For Students – Los Alamos Daily Post

Core students in the photography program at the Española YMCA Teen Center include 8th grader Eliseo Delgado and 9th graders Samuel Martinez and Stacie Spilman. Courtesy/YMCA

A photography student from the Española YMCA Teen Center in action. Courtesy/YMCA

By BEN SANDOVAL
Director
Española YMCA Teen Center 

As an adult hobbyist photographer, I always wondered what it would have been like if I had the exposure to a camera and a lens at a young age.

The world is so large for a youth, but the lens creates an opportunity to see the world from a perspective that can be much less overwhelming. The lens provides a youth an opportunity to be more focused as they compose their image for others to see from their unique perspective. When given the right tools, the youth will rise to the occasion and excel to new heights.

This moment of truth came when I took a small group of youth to the fire station to capture images to create holiday cards for our first responders. The students began to focus and compose their images; flashes went off, it was a dream come true; teens were using these powerful DSLR’s and lenses to freeze these special moments in time.

The moment they returned to the Teen Center, they went straight to the computers to see their images; they were stunned that they had captured some amazing images … off to the printer they went. Upon return, the youth signed their images to formalize the work of their craft.

They then framed their images and delivered them to the responders; the smiles and the happiness that was shown made the students feel proud of their work, and a new legacy of photographers was born.

As the photography class progressed, we found that the youths’ desire to explore and capture new and more challenging images required we get more equipment and even more powerful lenses. The young photographers captured images of forests, landscapes, trains, rivers, water droplets, snow, lights, engaged forced perspective imagery, captured sunsets and even sports images!

They framed their work; they even sold a few images they captured! Not only do we have photographers, we have young entrepreneurs who were publishing photo books! Two of the young photographers have published photo books that are actively on sale in two gift shops in Chama.

The dream became a reality, a photography class for young teens has opened up a new world of creativity and visual thinking to youth as they venture into their own art form. As one youth commented, “Not everyone sees life through the same lens”.

Editor’s note: The photography program at the Española YMCA Teen Center was seeded by a donation from Saint Job Of Pochaiv Orthodox Christian Church in Los Alamos, with proceeds from its annual cookie sales, which they donated last year at this time. The program was helped with additional funds from The National Endowment for the Arts, New Mexico Humanities Council.

The staff and youth at the Española YMCA Teen Center are grateful to get together and send thanks to their funders including the City of Española, United Way of Northern New Mexico, Anchorum St. Vincent, Community Health Funders Alliance, Lineberry Foundation, Northern New Mexico Health Grant Group-Con Alma, Centerra Group LLC, Lou Santoro State Farm Insurance, Manuel Valdez State Farm Insurance, All Together New Mexico Fund, Santa Fe Community Foundation, Clothes Helping Kids Foundation, Delle Foundation, N3B-Los Alamos, Nancy Park, Presbyterian Española Hospital, Century Bank, PMI, Santa Fe County, Rio Arriba County, Smith’s Marketplace, Southwest Title and Escrow, Triad-Los Alamos National Laboratory and its Community Programs Office, LANL Foundation and other private donors.

A photography student from the Española YMCA Teen Center in action. Courtesy/YMCA

A photography student from the Española YMCA Teen Center in action. Courtesy/YMCA

Photo by 7th grade photography student Janessa Sandoval from the Española YMCA Teen Center. Courtesy/YMCA

Photo by a photography student from the Española YMCA Teen Center. Courtesy/YMCA

Photos by a photography student from the Española YMCA Teen Center. Courtesy/YMCACourtesy photo

Photo by a photography student from the Española YMCA Teen Center. Courtesy/YMCA

Photo by a photography student from the Española YMCA Teen Center. Courtesy/YMCA

Photo by a photography student from the Española YMCA Teen Center. Courtesy/YMCA

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