Annual photography exhibition displays talents of student photographers and their responses to the pandemic

Focus on Youth opens online on May 8, 2021

ALBUQUERQUE, NM — Albuquerque Museum and the Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) Fine Arts Department are pleased to present an online exhibition of student photography.

Focus on Youth showcases artwork from high school students enrolled in photography programs across the district. It will be on view on the Museum's website May 8 to September 5, 2021.

"Each year we look forward to the collaboration with the Albuquerque Museum to bring Focus on Youth to the public," says APS Fine Arts Director Gina Rasinski. "This experience has the potential to encourage their future as both artists and/or employment in arts-based jobs. We actually have two former Focus alumni on our Fine Arts staff."

Focus on Youth had a modest beginning. In 1986, it was held at a library near downtown Albuquerque. In 1988, the Albuquerque Museum began hosting the show and has been collaborating with APS Fine Arts Department on this prestigious exhibit ever since. Last year, the show was cancelled due to the pandemic. This year, Focus on Youth is making a strong return to the Museum in a virtual format on their website.

Those who follow the annual Focus on Youth exhibition will see something a little different this year. Besides being virtual, the show is organized by four themes: “A Different Perspective” — photographing from a different angle/perspective than normal; “People”— photographs of people the student had contact with during the pandemic; “Within Reach” — photographing the student’s limited environment due to the pandemic; and finally, “Escaping Lockdown” — when students had a chance to get out and escape the pandemic lockdown.

"It became apparent when the students’ images were coming in that the show wasn’t going to be visually the same as in the past," said APS Digital Resource Teacher Perry Heimer. "We usually display the show by photographic categories: photo book, digital photography, silver print photography, digital special techniques, and non-digital special techniques."

Because of the pandemic, students didn’t have access to their school’s darkroom, so silver print photography was virtually non-existent. Many students didn’t have access to photo software or inkjet printers. But they had their cellphones and some had access to digital cameras.

"Focus on Youth has been a vital partnership for over three decades," says Albuquerque Museum Curator of Education Elizabeth Becker. "This exhibition is an important example of our commitment to supporting youth creativity and expression. We provide a crucial platform for the student artists that makes their work accessible to a broader audience. The exhibition also provides a valuable opportunity to connect students and their families to the Museum."

Focus on Youth was created to highlight and celebrate high school students’ efforts in their photography classes. Traditionally the show is juried by photography professionals in the Albuquerque area, however, this year the APS photography teachers fulfilled this role. The 2020–21 virtual show displays the talents of our student photographers, and in many cases, their response to the pandemic.

Focus on Youth Online
Albuquerque Museum
May 8 to September 5, 2021

Details subject to change.

Media Contact: Denise Crouse
[email protected]
April 29, 2021