To the Editor:
My name is Noah O’Leary. I am a senior at Canton High School and photography is my passion. I use it to capture what I see and how I feel about it. For the second semester of my senior year I chose to enroll in Senior Project, a class offered to seniors at CHS who focus on a passion they have and create something out of it. Through the help of the school, we are able to be creative and thoughtful in order to produce a project that is different from anything we have previously done in school. What I chose to do with this project is use photography to help raise awareness of the consequences of gender inequality affecting women and girls around the world. I have begun to do this through a photo essay titled “US,” which stands for “United in Solidarity.”
My mom immigrated to the United States from Romania with her family in 1985. I have seen the opportunities my mom, her sister and my grandmother have been given, however I also have seen the opportunities that they have not been given. I grew up surrounded by successful and hard-working women. My family dynamic was pioneered by these role models who showed me what it meant to work hard for something. They provided me with love, support and guidance when I needed it the most and challenged me to always do better. Over the years, though, I have begun to see that what they had to work hard for was easily acquired for the other male role models in my life. Because of this and the continuous experiences many other women in my life have faced, I was inspired long ago to create this photo essay. I want US to show that stories can unite us all in solidarity; to show that the love and support is alive and can be used to help solve the issue of sexism and racial inequality in our society. I have forever been passionate about photography and the story it can tell. This photo essay is genuine, honest, and necessary; it will tell stories that need to be shared.
US is a movement I think is necessary in today’s world. From all sides of the political spectrum there needs to be an understanding, and I think photography can foster this. Giving people the opportunity to see a picture and read a story allows them to create their own opinion. My goal for this photo essay is to create both a website and a book of portraits that will share stories of how women throughout the world have dealt with the inequality that they have faced in their lives. These very faces will create the connection with the readers that will allow their words to have power. I want this project to be about the women who will share their stories with the world and the community that this will sustain.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in sharing your story or are willing to be a part of this project in any other way. Thank you, I look forward to hearing from you!