Chicago students with iPhones tell their stories of a city in photos

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apple and 100cameras photo project with Chicago students
Apple put iPhone 11s in the hands of Chicago high school students and 100cameras challenged them to tell their stories in pictures.
Photo: Apple

The city of Chicago is full of narratives but one of its richest is often skewed by headlines of poverty and violence.

The neighborhood of North Lawndale is a story of rebirth and some of its young residents are sharing that story one iPhone photo at a time.

Apple recently partnered with the non-profit organization 100cameras to teach a group of Chicago high school students to tell stories through photography.

The students from DRW College Prep were given the new iPhone 11 and, after learning some of the basics of composition and camera operation, were led by 100cameras faculty on eight photo walks around the city.

Apple-100cameras Chicago project
Sand from Chicago’s North Avenue Beach.
Photo: Bionka

“Chicago is not one set culture,” says J, a junior at DRW who uses photography and his saxophone as his tools for expression. “There are people from all over that combine to make what we are today. You can’t necessarily understand what Chicago is if you don’t see Chicago for yourself. It’s good to see what cultures are there and what is fading away because you don’t know until it’s gone.

“Something I’ve learned is that you don’t necessarily have to have the skills or be precise with every shot. A story tells itself. You just got to capture that story, and then convey that story to others.”

The photos from the students can be viewed on the 100cameras website and prints are for sale for $30, with 100 percent of the proceeds going back to local organizations. 100cameras teaches adolescents around the world storytelling and self-expression through the tools of photography.

Apple-1000cameras Chicago project
Downtown skyscrapers
Photo: Janiya