North Philly photo exhibit explores American life through the lens of Latinx teens

‘Young Americans’ exhibit runs through January

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A new photography exhibit in North Philadelphia is elevating the voices of young Latinx students, showing how they see the world and the challenges of growing up as young women of color.

In “Young Americans,” the freshman and sophomore artists explore complex themes, like religion, cultural beauty standards and what it means to be American.

“These kids are all from North Philadelphia, mostly from Kensington, but also from Olney, from areas of the city that are super under-represented,” explained Tony Rocco, executive director of Photography Without Borders. The organization teaches students how to tell their own stories through pictures.

“No offense to the media, there’s a lot of negative things coming out of the neighborhood, and sometimes that’s all you hear. But as you can tell from here, these kids have a lot to say,” said Rocco.

It was a proud moment for the dozens of Latinx families in attendance, who got to see their kids’ works front and center.

“Teenagers and young children have been kind of shut down because they’re too young to have an opinion and contribute to adult conversations,” said 14-year-old Nelian Asport Morales from Central High School.

She took photos depicting American beauty standards.

“I want to show that we are old enough to contribute to conversations because they affect us,” she continued. “Beauty standards, religion, the way that women are affected by society and damaged by society — I want them to take away that we have something to say and they should listen.”

The “Young Americans” exhibit will run through Jan. 22 at the InLiquid Gallery, located at 1400 N. American St. inside the Crane Arts building.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Antionette Lee/KYW Newsradio