Youth Photo Programs: Q&A with Shirley Nannini and Denise Orlin of... - Trust Me Shops

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Youth Photo Programs: Q&A with Shirley Nannini and Denise Orlin of...

Youth Photo Programs: Q&A with Shirley Nannini and Denise Orlin of...

B&H explora - All posts
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What better motivation can one give a fledgling photo student than a gift of their very own camera at the end of an introductory workshop? It’s this very gesture that sets FreshLens Chicago apart from the pack. Founded in 2017 by Shirley Nannini as Executive Director, with Denise Orlin as Assistant Director, FreshLens is a youth photography not-for-profit dedicated to serving under-resourced Chicago youth through a mix of intensive photographic instruction, confidence building self-assessments, and inspiring role models who demonstrate what success looks like.

In this third story in our series, Nannini and Orlin elaborate on the FreshLens motto of “Failure is not an Option” in building a multi-faceted program that engages creativity while holding kids accountable for their attendance and progress. Read on to discover how FreshLens has evolved from a basic summer workshop for high school kids to year-round programming that now spans advanced-level study to middle school grades, with plans for further expansion ahead.

Above photograph © Issabella Ortiz

 Program Name: FreshLens Chicago
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Year Founded: 2017
Non-Profit Status: 501c3 not-for-profit organization
Length of Program: year-round 8-week workshops and internships
Ages Served: Male and female students 11-18, including middle school

Jill Waterman: How did you arrive at the name FreshLens, and what does it mean to you?

Shirley Nannini: I made a bet with Nick Sinnott, the owner of Chicago Photography Classes (CPC), that I would come up with a name before he did. I put it out on Facebook and had a lot of good ideas, but FreshLens won (and I beat Nick in the bet). It just seemed appropriate, because you want kids to approach the program with fresh eyes and a fresh lens.

Tell us more about CPC. Has it been involved with FreshLens since the beginning?

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