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Behind The Scenes: Self Portraits by the Youth Media Festival Committee

by Oliver Mahoro, Youth Media Festival Committee Member and High School Intern

In our class at the Wide Angle Youth Media, we have been working on organizing and planning the 8th Annual Wide Angle Youth Media Festival that we will be hosting this spring. The festival will showcase not only the things that we have been doing in our class, but also the work of other Baltimore City Students. One of the best projects that we’ve been working on is taking self portraits. I find the self portraits that we have been working on to be very interesting because we get to design our own backdrops and we do everything ourselves.

Oliver

Oliver’s self portrait

These self portraits that we took are very important because they challenge the stereotypes we wanted to challenge, and they helped us get to know each other better by hearing one another’s stories. In short, everything that we have done so far has impressed me a lot it’s been a blessing working with the people I work with. What impressed me the most though was that we put our faith and trust in our fellow classmates to take our portraits.

"Young people in Baltimore are often seen as kids who do not care about education. They are considered “careless” and “unwilling to learn”. Although some of the students skip classes, I can say with certainty that most of us love to study. My self-portrait aims to challenge the stereotype that young people in Baltimore don’t care about education. In my portrait, I am reading a book while smiling. I wanted to show through this picture that Baltimore youth want to study and succeed. Not only are we serious about learning, we also enjoy school." - Lj Kate Lumongsod, Youth Media Festival Committee Member

“Young people in Baltimore are often seen as kids who do not care about education. They are considered “careless” and “unwilling to learn”. Although some of the students skip classes, I can say with certainty that most of us love to study. My self-portrait aims to challenge the stereotype that young people in Baltimore don’t care about education. In my portrait, I am reading a book while smiling. I wanted to show through this picture that Baltimore youth want to study and succeed. Not only are we serious about learning, we also enjoy school.” – Lj Kate Lumongsod, Youth Media Festival Committee Member

I think the most challenging part for me was making and coming up with a backdrop that fit the portrait or the idea. But with the help I received from Carey (Youth Media Festival Coordinator), I was able to make it a success. As a group I think that our biggest challenge was working together but in the end we overcame that and now we are good friends.

Arianna: As a young person in Baltimore, I face and challenge the stereotypes put on me by the people within and outside of my city. They do not understand or try to see the person within. To them, we are all the same color with the same goals, personalities, ignorance, disrespect, lack of educational motivation and have a careless attitude for the world. My education is of extreme value and importance to me, and I wanted to convey this in my photograph. I refuse to be oppressed by who society tells me what I am. I love my school and I love to work hard because all good things come with hard work and sacrifice. I took this photograph to show my pride, dedication, and love for my education, even though some stereotypically believe Baltimore youth have none. In this photo, I decided to include my school sweatshirts, textbooks of a few of my favorite subjects, and put a personal, modern twist on The Thinker pose referencing Abraham Lincoln and Rodin. I wanted to portray a higher level of thinking.

“As a young person in Baltimore, I face and challenge the stereotypes put on me by the people within and outside of my city. They do not understand or try to see the person within. To them, we are all the same color with the same goals, personalities, ignorance, disrespect, lack of educational motivation and have a careless attitude for the world. My education is of extreme value and importance to me, and I wanted to convey this in my photograph. I refuse to be oppressed by who society tells me what I am. I love my school and I love to work hard because all good things come with hard work and sacrifice. I took this photograph to show my pride, dedication, and love for my education, even though some stereotypically believe Baltimore youth have none. In this photo, I decided to include my school sweatshirts, textbooks of a few of my favorite subjects, and put a personal, modern twist on The Thinker pose referencing Abraham Lincoln and Rodin. I wanted to portray a higher level of thinking.” – Arianna Clatterbuck, Youth Media Festival Committee Member

The main aim or reason of these portraits was to challenge one stereotype that the youth of baltimore face. Based on the results of the feedback that we received from the people that we showed the picture to, I would say that these stereotypes are wrong. We set out to disprove them and we did just that.

Tyson

“I’m challenging the stereotype of young kids not having any talent. People keep talking about us “youngsters” having nothing to do all day but eat, sleep, and… well, you get the idea. I may have grown up in a community with a lot of crime, doesn’t mean that I’m influenced by it. I’ve experienced other things for my interest. For instance, I am passionate about Parkour. Like in the picture, I’m imagining I’m jumping from building to building.” – Tyson Sanford-Griffin, Youth Media Festival Committee Member

Call For Entries for the 8th annual Wide Angle Youth Media Festival are due February 25! Download Call for Entries Form for the 8th Annual Wide Angle Youth Media Festival


Oliver Blog WebOliver Mahoro currently lives in Baltimore City but is originally from Rwanda. Oliver is a junior at the Academy for College and Career Exploration. He likes to do a lot of things, but the things he enjoys the most are playing with his younger brother, playing guitar, and singing with his family. His interests are playing sports, reading books on healthy living, and also learning about animals. At Wide Angle Youth Media, he is a member of the Youth Media Festival Committee. Where he and his classmates plan for the annual festival. Apart from class, he is also an intern at Wide Angle Youth Media. He is a very active person, so he takes part in many extracurricular activities. He is a part of his school’s athletics team and plans on playing soccer once the season starts. When he is older, he would like to become an engineer – he loves math and science, but would like to become a part-time photographer too.

The Wide Angle Youth Media Festival gives voice to Baltimore City’s youth and provides a forum to showcase creativity and perspectives at a variety of venues throughout Baltimore City. Participants will have the opportunity to exhibit their work in a local gallery and participate in a traveling exhibition that will be on view throughout Baltimore City.