In January 2018, FUJIFILM North America Corporation partnered with a national non-profit organization called STOKED Mentoring. Using mentorship and action sports culture, STOKED aims to empower urban youth and help them to reach their full potential.
The relationship started when STOKED hosted a “Skate Photography Mentoring Session” in Chicago where STOKED students had the opportunity to shoot the event alongside FUJIFILM X-Photographer Gareth Pon. Since then, Fujifilm has been supporting the growth and development of young people using photography as a means to represent different perspectives and touch lives.
One way that Fujifilm has supported STOKED’s great work is through a series of workshops that provide students with access to professional photography equipment and photo mentors. These workshops, also known as STOKEDxFUJIFILM Sessions, have provided hands-on experience with set design, photo shoots, editing, displaying and promoting to equip under-resourced youth with the skills to realize their full potential.
“Fujifilm is thrilled to embark on a relationship with STOKED,” says Lisa Yang, Product Manager for X Series and GFX at FUJIFILM North America Corporation. “We are committed to supporting the growth and development of youth in our local communities and believe in the power photography to impact perspectives and lives.”
The sessions have been a huge success, with FUJIFILM mentors covering a wide variety of styles and subjects. DUMBO Nights let students try their hand at street photography, Fashion Forward gave an introduction to this glamourous genre while The Exposure Triangle, and Finding Your Path provided invaluable tips and advice on not just the basics of photography, but also how to build a career in the industry.
A Great Experience
One young attendee named Atira discovered a passion for photography through a STOKEDxFUJIFILM workshop. “I came to one session and had a great experience,” Atira said. “I learned a lot about my personal photography style and since then have really seen my photos transform.”
Another, named Bela, found that the skills required in photography ran deeper than initially expected. “I went to a few sessions and they were super fun,” Bela said. “I think the session most beneficial to me was the one about lighting. It was mind-blowing to see the equipment and how much of a difference the smallest shift could make.”
A Community of Fearless Leaders
Launched in 2015 by Steve Larosiliere and TV personality Sal Masekela, STOKED teaches young people the value of passion and perseverance. It takes the strength and courage needed in action sports and aims to use these to unlock broader life skills.
“STOKED exists to create a community of fearless leaders,” says Larosiliere. “Photography is such a big part of action sports culture. Through this partnership, we’re able to give students the high-level tools and mentors they need to realize a potential passion.”
Highlighting the value of introducing young people to a range of skills, one attendee named Creelin said: “I went to a few sessions and it was a really fun experience, even working with the experts behind the camera. I learned a lot about knowing how to use the camera to take different angle pictures and seeing how the pictures would come out in the end. Then the work is put into the computer with different light sets and backgrounds, which is interesting.”
From Strength to Strength
In 2017, STOKED was recognized with an NY Community Trust Non-Profit Excellence Award. The organization has impacted the lives of over 4,000 young people since its inception, and now has offices in New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
Find out more about their valuable work, and about their 2018 partnership with Fujifilm, at Stoked.org.