About Us

Our Story

We believe in the power of photography. But even more than that, we believe in our youth. That's why we approach photography as a means of curiosity, exploration, and self-discovery. We create a safe, inclusive community, teach photography at no cost, and provide mentorship for South Seattle youth. 

We've been doing this for 25 years because of the profound impact it has - on the youth, on us, and on our community at large. We are teaching photography, but the students are learning so much more. They're learning who they are, how to be, and how to share their ideas and values with the world.

That's the future we want to see - one where youth are included, accepted, and nurtured to express their ideas and share their gifts. We are honored to play a role in their journey to discovery and being - and to share the science and art of photography along the way.

A youth with green hair and a checkered mask holds up a photography of themselves holding a flower.
A group of students pose with cameras as if they are all taking a picture. They are standing on a wooden platform in front of a pond.A group of people poses in front of a sparkly backdrop covered in roses.

Our Vision

To transform our collective future, one picture at a time.

Our Mission

Equipping youth to share their ideas and values with the world through photography and art. 

Our Values

We value photography as a powerful medium of change to create a healthy, vibrant, more equitable and just society.

We believe in:

  • Creating safe, inclusive spaces and nurturing relationships where youth feel accepted and respected, can be vulnerable, and find mentorship.
  • Providing access and fostering creativity so young people have outlets for self-expression and reflection on the world around them.
  • Encouraging curiosity and a growth-mindset so young people develop confidence, find their sense of self, and gain skills that transcend their future pursuits.
  • Building a community that welcomes all, does not tolerate racism or any other form of oppression, and contributes to the greater collective striving for racial justice.

Our Equity Statement

Youth in Focus believes in youth: we support youth, we center youth voices, and we advocate for them and the things that matter to them. As an organization that works in the photography and media space, we are acutely aware of the profound and powerful impact of images and video. We use photography and art as tools for expression, nurturing curiosity, dialogue, shared understanding, building community, and exploration of ideas and concepts across time and place.

Youth in Focus serves youth, staff, and volunteers from the global community who represent a diverse and wide spectrum of intersectional identities and lived experiences. As such, our community is affected by a history of white supremacy, institutionalized racism, sexism, ableism, genderism, ageism, homophobia, and more. We aim to create a safe and supportive environment for youth, and a transformed
future shaped by their voices - and that commitment extends beyond the walls and hours of our programs. We proudly utilize photography as a powerful medium of change to create a healthy, vibrant, more equitable, and just society.

Youth in Focus is committed to equity through:

  • Preparing youth to succeed and thrive in education, life, and/or career through our full range of programming, ensuring a community of support, and providing resources
  • Reducing the opportunity gap in access to the arts by offering free programming and meeting students in their own community
  • Creating a sense of belonging where youth are honored and accepted as their authentic selves
  • Ensuring we have programming specifically tailored to BIPOC youth to allow them to explore photography through the lenses of their experiences
  • Employing staff/teaching artists who reflect our students’ identities and lived experiences
  • Implementing a Youth Advisory Board to ensure youth voice is represented in organizational decision-making
  • Paying artists for their work and creative labor

Support our Students work

All student work is available for purchase! Contact us to order.

Order Prints
Our accessible programming is made possible in part by support from our amazing partners!