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Youth photographers in DePaul + CHA program put a lens on the White Sox

DePaul + CHA programs offer summer opportunities to explore creativity


​​​​ As Chicago White Sox players took the field this July, young photographers in DePaul’s summer program were ready to capture the action. In all, 16 youth practiced their sports photography skills alongside other press at Guaranteed Rate Field.

“This opportunity showed me the possibility of a career that would not only allow me to shoot for a team that I love, but that would also be fun,” says Trisena Williams, 17.

At the heart of the DePaul + CHA Youth programs, youth are invited to gain skills that create new economic pathways as well as a safe space to explore their creative voices. This marked the eighth year of DePaul’s Jarvis College of Computing and Digital Media’s film and media intensives for youth from the Chicago Housing Authority.

“These youth programs are so much more than learning photo and film skills. We’re building community and raising awareness on topics that concern our young people most,” says Liliane Calfee, program director.

Donald Crocker, a DePaul communications and media student, worked as a mentor for the cohort. Crocker is also a member of the White Sox content creator program and facilitated this special outing. Youth participants toured Guaranteed Rate Field and met with team photographer, Darren Georgia. During each inning, two student photographers joined Donald to get shots of the Chicago White Sox vs. Toronto Blue Jays game. Each student was equipped with a professional-level camera and high-end sports lens.

There were several standout field trips and guest speakers during the program. Vashon Jordan Jr. spoke on his photography book “Chicago Protests: A Joyful Revolution.” Renowned wedding photographer Olivia Leigh led a posing workshop at Ping Tom Park. Students had a conversation with social media sensation Jeremy Joyce of Black People Eats. They attended a lighting workshop at Garrett Buckley’s Skyline Headshots studio and visited Barry Butler’s “Flow–Water Brings Life to Chicago” exhibit at Navy Pier.

At the end of their summer, each youth presented a portfolio on a theme of their choice. This year, youth covered stories as varied as elevating Black fathers, the South Side vs. the North Side of Chicago, animal welfare, self-love, and Black unity in traditionally white spaces. The portfolios were sent to a group of professional photographers and one lucky youth was awarded a professional camera package.

Follow along with more of the program’s adventures on Instagram.

Liliane Calfee is director of the DePaul + CHA Programs for film and photography. She is also an adjunct faculty member in the Jarvis College of Computing and Digital Media.