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A book of dramatic black-and-white photographs taken by urban and suburban teenagers as they explore issues related to diversity. Read more

Detroit, MI Photography
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This project was successfully funded on August 3, 2012.

A book of dramatic black-and-white photographs taken by urban and suburban teenagers as they explore issues related to diversity.

Detroit, MI Photography
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Focus HOPE
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Focus HOPE

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About this project

Breaking down racial and economic barriers begins with our youth.

With that premise, Focus: HOPE brings together 60 teens from city and suburban high schools each year for a series of sessions where they explore issues related to diversity and use photography as a means of expression.  Our project is to publish a retrospective of the dramatic black-and-white photographs that have emerged from this diversity and youth leadership program over the last 15 years.  This book contains photographs and artist statements that give insight into how youth living in this highly-segregated community of southeast Michigan view their world.

A diverse and enthusiastic group of students and mentors meet regularly on our campus.
A diverse and enthusiastic group of students and mentors meet regularly on our campus.

Focus: HOPE is a nationally-recognized civil and human rights organization that was founded in the wake of the 1967 Detroit riots.  For nearly 45 years, the organization has worked to overcome racism, poverty and injustice at every level.  Our Focus on the Mission program aims to change attitudes and stereotypes among high school students.  Students meet on our Detroit campus where they experience ethnic food and music, group discussions, and are taught the basics of photography from professional photographer volunteers.  

Guided by their mentors, they set out to photograph various cultural and ethnic centers in the city –from the Hispanic area of southwest Detroit to the elaborate Fisher Mansion that has been converted into Hare Krishna cultural center.  They experience the vibrant energy in the central city and the desolation of neighborhoods pockmarked by abandoned homes. 

After capturing dozens of images, the students have one tough assignment:  Select one favorite photo and write an artist statement reflecting what the photo means to them.  The program culminates in an exhibit on the Focus: HOPE campus which brings together the families of these students. 

The 15-year retrospective will pull together 120 photos that capture the spirit of these teenagers.  This is our first attempt to consolidate photos into one book that demonstrates the emotional depth and perceptions of these talented young men and women.  Our program is known to open minds and encourage community activism – and we expect that this book will also.

Your support of this project will enable Focus: HOPE to publish the book, notecards that each feature a unique photo, and copies of some outstanding photographs.  Thank you for considering this project! 

Mentor Elayne Gross and a student paused in front of the Renaissance Center .
Mentor Elayne Gross and a student paused in front of the Renaissance Center .
"During this program I learned a lot about diversity. Through diversity, I learned to have no shame in expressing yourself because everyone is different no matter the color" - Diamond James, Cass Technical High School.
"During this program I learned a lot about diversity. Through diversity, I learned to have no shame in expressing yourself because everyone is different no matter the color" - Diamond James, Cass Technical High School.
"We all come from different place. Because of Focus: HOPE, we now intersect like laces. Through this program, we met a lot of new faces. Now that it is over, we will leave with a taste of all the races" - Casei Wells, Allen Park, Michigan High School.
"We all come from different place. Because of Focus: HOPE, we now intersect like laces. Through this program, we met a lot of new faces. Now that it is over, we will leave with a taste of all the races" - Casei Wells, Allen Park, Michigan High School.
"So diverse, yet so similar. The differences and the way it is being looked at is what make a picture truly worth a thousand words." - Bashair Alfatlawi, Fordson High School in Dearborn.
"So diverse, yet so similar. The differences and the way it is being looked at is what make a picture truly worth a thousand words." - Bashair Alfatlawi, Fordson High School in Dearborn.
"When I got here and participated in the program, I ended up having a great time. The photo shoot downtown was incredible and I now have a newfound interest in photography." - Sam McCutcheon, Northville High School
"When I got here and participated in the program, I ended up having a great time. The photo shoot downtown was incredible and I now have a newfound interest in photography." - Sam McCutcheon, Northville High School

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    17 backers

    Our deepest appreciation and your name listed on our website.

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    15 backers

    5 notecards featuring photos from book, our deepest appreciation, and your name listed on our website

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    35 backers

    A copy of the book, our deepest appreciation, and your name listed on our website

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    20 backers

    A signed copy of the book, and your name listed in the book and on our website as a Silver Sponsor.

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    A signed copy of the book, 5 notecards, and your name listed in the book and on our website as a Gold Sponsor.

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    3 backers

    A signed copy of the book, 10 notecards, one 8X10 print, listing in book and on our website as a Diamond Sponsor, and name on signage for book publication event.

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    4 backers

    Signed copy of book, 10 notecards, two 8X10 prints, listing in book and on our website as premier Platinum Sponsor, and special recognition at book publication event.

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Funding period

- (45 days)