“I grew up poor and having to struggle in the broken system called foster care. I was always bullied and treated as a waste of life,” 22-year-old former foster youth Deitrick said. “So whenever I pick up a camera and I’m able to take a picture, shoot a video, or even just stare at myself from the front lens, it allows me to see my world from a different perspective.”
That combination of changing perceptions and the potential of the visual communication as a form of expression was what drew Deitrick into the world of photography.
“What inspires me to see through a visual medium is seeing a different world through different lenses and to have that ability to lose yourself in a different world of different lenses,” he said.
To master his passion, Deitrick started his photography education through trial and error. Then, last year, he enrolled in a two-day boot camp hosted by PBS SoCal’s To Foster Change Initiative and the UnScene Photography Tour. The boot camp provided a hands-on opportunity for former foster youth to gain photography skills, resulting in the opportunity to show their work at a special gallery show. While at the program, Deitrick’s talents showed through, which led to an opportunity on his path toward a professional future.
This year Deitrick will return to the Foster Youth Art Gallery not as a participant but as a paid professional. He’ll capture the atmosphere and the excitement of the event, which will feature the work of this year’s boot camp participants.