Delaney is combining her love of photography with her passion for social change.
"I love photography," gushes 18-year-old Delaney Brown from Federal Way, Washington.
She has captured weddings, senior portraits, and family photos. "I want to be a
fashion photographer, or any career where I can use a camera." Last year, she tapped
that passion and combined it with another: community service.
"YouthSpark made me realize I can do so much more with the talents that I have.
I can benefit other people, not just myself, with my journalistic skills."
"I was immediately inspired to get involved in community service projects," says
Delaney. She took part in "We Scare Hunger," a Halloween trick-or-treat event affiliated
with Free the Children that collected items for her area food bank. Combined with
three other school districts, the effort took in more than 10,000 pounds of food
in October 2012.
Microsoft YouthSpark Reporters join We Day cohost Munro Chambers from the hit TeenNick
TV show Degrassi.
It was a teacher who asked Delaney to apply for a spot as a YouthSpark Reporter, an opportunity Microsoft provides to
select young people to gain skills training in journalism and technology, and the
Reporters use Microsoft technology to report on their We Day experience. On her
application essay, she wrote about her plans to pursue a degree in commercial photography
and "nearly died" when she was chosen as one of the YouthSpark Reporters.
At Key Arena on We Day, she
got an all-access backstage experience, as well as an on-stage spot in front of
thousands of peers. She interviewed celebrities like Seattle Seahawks coach Pete
Carroll and singer Jennifer Hudson. "I was five feet away from her!" she exclaims
about seeing Hudson backstage.
Delaney uses her favorite vintage camera to shoot photos of her friends and family.
The highlight of the day was interviewing Martin Luther King III. "That's something
I never thought would happen to me," she recalls. “It never would have happened
without YouthSpark. Still even thinking about it today, it takes my breath away;
it’s something I'm always going to carry with me. YouthSpark made me realize I can
do so much more with the talents that I have. I can benefit other people, not just
myself, with my journalistic skills.”
Delaney has seen how photography can be used for social good. "There's a program
that provides free portraits to people fighting cancer," she explains. "It's something
I'd like to get involved with. I want to help others and use the skills I have to
Delaney, who plans to be a fashion photographer, spends time with her best friend
in Seattle, Washington.
One of the subjects of Delaney's candid photos was the school’s head janitor. "She
was so funny, and had pretty blue eyes," she shared quietly. The woman recently
passed away, and Delaney's photo was one of the few the school had of her. "I printed
it and gave it to her family. The way her family was affected by it, you could tell
it meant a lot to them," Delaney says.
Being part of YouthSpark and We Day encouraged Brown to tackle tasks she didn’t
think were possible, like interviewing inspirational figures and speaking on stage
in front of thousands. It pushed her to look at the bigger picture.
"I guess you could say that YouthSpark inspired me to be involved with something
greater and take myself farther than just Washington state."
This was Delaney’s first attempt at astrophotography one summer night in eastern Washington. "This amazing shot of the stars helped to expand my photographic horizons, literally and figuratively."
This is from a series on color studies. "Throughout this series, I used colored gels to cast bright hues upon my models skin. Only slight retouching was done to perfect the images, no extra color was added post processing."
"This photograph is an example of one of my favorite types of photography, senior portraits. I get to document important moments and it’s extremely rewarding to photograph close friends and watch them move on to a new chapter of their lives."
The Seattle-based rap star made a surprise appearance at We Day and Delaney captured this shot while working as a YouthSpark Reporter.
This photo won a gold key in the regional round of the National Scholastic Alliance for Young Artists and Writers competition and has moved on to national judging. "The water and the way it is enveloping and distorting the subject show how clinical depression can overwhelm someone."
This photo of a homeless man was taken at Pike Place Market. "I was captivated by how bright his eyes were and the detail in his face. I wanted an intimate look at how weathered and unique he looked and caught this photo of him looking straight into the camera as he told me of his former job planting trees."
"With the use of gel and strobes, I was able to cast gorgeous colors onto my models. This shot of Dilya is my favorite of the series because the colors fit her gorgeously and her eye contact with the camera is striking."
This shot is from a series entitled Departure. "My great grandfather's Alzheimer's reached a debilitating level so I took time documenting the last two months of his life and earned a new found understanding of his disease."
University students Christina, Brian, Meghan, Adam, and Sneha journeyed to Kenya
to learn how innovation can solve local and global issues.
From the slums of Mombasa, Kenya to being named the most accomplished student in
her graduating class at American University in Dubai, technology changed Mary’s
Ranjeet traveled miles to take technology classes and now supports his family with
the income from his own mobile repair shop in India.