by Kedwein Valdez
In college, it’s very easy to get wrapped up in schoolwork, jobs, internships, etc. Sometimes you forget to take a step back and remember where you came from and how you got there. There’s a special program that I hold close to my heart that I want to dedicate this post to. NYC SALT, “ a non-profit photography program serving inner city teenagers. Through professionally led instruction, we seek to engage, inspire and empower kids to have a voice in their world and become all that they are created to be.” To the public this might seem like a well-crafted mission statement used to appeal to the masses. Looking at this statement now, I know all too well how accurate these words are. SALT was so much more than just an after school program to me, it was a home away from home.
As a kid I was always interested in photography, which is what first brought me to their front door. Little did I know I would learn so much more then just photography skills. They taught that sometimes things don’t come automatically; every skill requires you to keep working on it week by week; each time improving just a little more. They taught me to always be open to criticism, because every critic is a new opportunity to learn. At SALT, I learned to look deeper into things and find different meanings.
I remember when our assignment was to shoot clutter; I took a picture of my grandmother’s room. At the time, I just saw a messy room; although now, after my grandmother has passed away, I see so much more in my own picture. I see so much of whom she was and what she believed in, (things I wouldn’t normally see in glammed up pictures of her). SALT was more than just a photography class. They took the time to help whenever we needed them. When it came to inquiring about scholarships, or just looking over college essays they were always there. So I just wanted to give a big THANK YOU to everyone at SALT, although I don’t show it enough, I really appreciate everything you’ve done for me. You’ve helped shape who I am today.