By DAPHNE KNOUSE FRENZER, age 12

Today, non-profit organizations and even social media can give kids a way to explore their worlds with a camera. PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons & Bigshot Camera
Today, non-profit organizations and even social media can give kids a way to explore their worlds with a camera. PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons & Bigshot Camera

Kids don’t often get the chance to express themselves publicly. Through photography, kids and teenagers are finding a new way to document and experience their own lives and communities. Today, non-profit organizations and even social media can give kids a way to explore their worlds with a camera.

One such nonprofit is 100cameras, which travels around the world arming kids in marginalized* communities with cameras and showing them how to express themselves through photos. Through their photos, they can capture many different aspects of their environment and culture in places like Cuba and India. The pictures that the students take are sold and the profits go toward community projects in their home countries. “They [the students] were so forward thinking… just really excited to help their homes and show the world their home,” said Angela Bullock, co-founder of the organization.

Another program is the Red Hook Photo Project, which provides kids with cameras to document and share their world. Started in 2006, this project gives kids ages 14 to 18 in Red Hook, an underserved neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY, a chance to take pictures and share them at a show at the end of an eight-week program.

Lastly, a new way that some kids are expressing themselves with photography is through Instagram, a photo-sharing app that has 150 million users worldwide. “Instagram has helped me show how I feel about the world,” says seventh grade student, Sara Fellman.

Through all of these methods, kids get to choose where to point their camera lens, which gives them the power to create images that help others to see their lives from their own eyes.

Marginalized: when a person, group of people or community does not have their needs met and identities recognized as much as those of others in the same society.