Voices of Youth: Photography on litter and community pride in Ypsilanti

This article is part of Concentrate's Voices of Youth series, which features content created by Washtenaw County youth in partnership with Concentrate mentors, as well as feature stories by adult writers that examine issues of importance to local youth. In this installment, student Tyler Chavez shares his photography on litter and community pride in Ypsilanti.

Artist's statement:

Project title:
Beyond the Sidewalks of Ypsilanti

Medium: Digital photography 

What is this piece of art work about? The impression litter gives Ypsilanti residents, how it makes me feel, and possible solutions.

What inspired you to make it? Ever since I was little I had a problem with litter. I don't like how it looks around the environment and affects the look of Ypsilanti, including parts of town and highway ditches.

Who are you as an artist? As an artist I want to help reveal realities that could be blinded by lies or go unnoticed, spreading awareness and expressing myself to the viewer.

This is one way that litter grows throughout Ypsi. The wind blows the trash through town. Sadly people don't usually notice their trash can being knocked over until it's too late.

This was taken right next to the water tower. Unsurprisingly, anyone driving by does not seem to care much about it. It makes me feel as if people don't contribute to picking up already wild trash.

When I look at this photo, it makes me wonder: some people care about the world, but what about the town?

This picture was taken behind Ypsilanti Community High School's admin building. It only makes me more curious about how much Ypsilanti residents worry about representing their town well.

Conclusion: Some possible solutions to this issue are doing your part when you see trash around your feet. Have community service, clean up more targeted areas, and keep those wrappers to yourself.

Tyler Chavez is a student at Ypsilanti Community High School. Concentrate staffer Yen Azzaro served as his mentor on this project.

To learn more about Concentrate's Voices of Youth project and read other installments in the series, click here.