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Foster Art Participant Turned Professional

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“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.

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Former Foster Youth Share Their 2020 Experience in Pictures

To get a glimpse of what 2020 looked like for former foster youth, we asked them to share their year in pictures. Our virtual gallery showcases some of our favorites.
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Dominique has been able to turn photography into a business. His advice to young people interested in working behind the camera is to believe in themselves.
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Turning Art Into a Career: Behind the Scenes with Mei-Le

Mei-Le advises youth pursuing careers in film and television to get to know the people around them and to stay open-minded.