Empower zone: youth photography from the Empowerment Zone/Enterprise Community Initiative

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Aperture, 2000 - Photography - 79 pages
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An uplifting series of photographs by American teens living in neighborhoods of renewal

Imagine presents inspiring photographs by forty teenagers living in four communities that are part of government antipoverty programs-in Lowell, Massachusetts; Baltimore, Maryland; the Rio Grande Valley in Texas; and Chicago, Illinois-offering a rare view of community renewal from the inside out.

Launched at the end of 1994, the EZ/EC Initiative (named for government empowerment zones and enterprise communities) is a large-scale antipoverty effort in which more than 140 inner-city and rural poor areas have been designated to receive federal dollars for revitalization. EZ/EC wages its battles on many fronts simultaneously: bringing back business and creating jobs for residents, rehabilitating housing, improving education and providing positive opportunities for young people, and restoring safety.

Under the guidance of veteran photographer Stephen Shames, forty teens participated in photography workshops run by EZ/EC in 1999. The photographs are accompanied by interviews with the teens, describing the ideas and motivations behind their image-making. The uplifting photographs produced in the workshops demonstrate that it is possible to change lives and revitalize troubled neighborhoods. Imagine also includes Shames's selection of photographic portraits of the teens

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About the author (2000)

Stephen Shames is a nationally known photographer whose previous books, Outside the Dream and Pursuing the Dream (both published by Aperture), address child poverty and how to help disadvantaged children succeed. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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