April 18, 2023

Meet Teaching Artist, Chloe!

Early giving for #GiveBIG starts today!

Each year, we like to highlight members of our staff and share how they personally connect to Youth in Focus during our GiveBIG campaign! Our mission is to equip youth to share their ideas and values with the world through photography. And we know that can't happen if the teens in our programs don't feel safe, included, and supported. Our Teaching Artists don't just teach photography, they create spaces of trust where students can be vulnerable, take risks, explore, and discover. Our Teaching Artists help our students DREAM BIG!

Meet Chloe Collyer (they/them)

Chloe participated in Youth in Focus as a student in their teen years! We are thrilled they have rejoined the YiF community as a Teaching Artist working with our Creative Career Cohort program for BIPOC youth, our Darkroom students, and several community partner programs.

What role did art play in your teen years?I definitely suffered from anxiety and depression as a teen. My camera acted as a conduit that allowed me to channel my pain out of the spirit and into the world of art.

How did you know you wanted to make a career out of photography?When I was 14, Youth in Focus took me on a field trip to meet legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz. Seeing her documentary-style portraits inspired my own style, and I related to her stories of being a queer woman in a majority-male industry. Meeting her helped put me on a path to becoming a professional artist. By 20 I had purchased my own camera and had enough potential clients to start a photo business.

What YiF value resonates with your own artistic practice?My strongest takeaway from YiF was that my individuality, my differences, and my unique identity, are all strengths in the creative world. I truly believe no one can tell visual stories in the way I do and that actually adds value to my work.

How has your art practice developed over the years?As a teen, I would make emotional images about my mental health and my portraits of my community, but my photo career branched off from a different side of myself: the documentarian. Photo school gave me a technical foundation for the craft but left me without any understanding of ethics and consent. That part I had to learn myself. After 10 years of trial-and-error reporting, I have now found a workflow that prioritizes safety, ethics, and consent when making documentary images.

Check out Chloe's work!