A Future in Focus​
Through the lens of photography, we teach children and young adults skills to shine in all fields of life.
Donate today
Flash Forward
We have an urgent need for used digital cameras and smartphones. Give your old gear a new life.
Help us honor the memory of our dear friend, Eric Richenstein (1982-2020).
Photo of girls in front of peace sign
Play Video

The Wide Angle on Photo Start

Talent is universal. Opportunity is not. We are changing that. Providing free digital photography lessons and equipment, Photo Start teaches important professional and life skills which put a bright future in the focus of students in under-resourced communities.

Ready for a Close-Up?

Our Story

Photo Start is an international family of photographers, students, teachers, volunteers, partner organizations, and supporters. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in New York City, we partner with programs in Kenya, South Africa, Uganda and the United States, to facilitate in-person and online photography classes, with exciting plans to add more partners and more countries in 2021.

Our Students

Since 2016, we have provided more than 800 students with 27,000+ hours of theoretical and practical classes. To date, 49 students have graduated to become trainers and mentors to younger children in the Photo Start program.

Why Photography?

Photography integrates science, technology, digital production, the arts, and storytelling for a low-cost, high-value, high-quality education. We include problem-based, social-emotional learning to nurture the focus, perspective, and vision of the leaders of tomorrow, who will impact their communities for generations to come.

Developed at the onset of the pandemic, our innovative digital program, Eric’s Circle of Light (ECOL), honors our dear friend, Eric Richenstein (1982-2020), who left us too soon, by doing what we do best: providing access to education and opportunity to young people most in need. Eric loved his family, friends, and the great outdoors, and he was a friend to wildlife and children everywhere.

When schools closed, we consulted specialists in the fields of science, math, art therapy and special education to develop online photography lessons and activities that support creativity and emotional well-being. The curricula includes theoretical and practical photography instruction along with valuable life skills sessions. 

Too, we have created an all-new Storytelling curriculum, led by Gaireyah Fredericks, an award-winning author, poet and playwright in Paarl, Western Cape, South Africa.

Since its inception, ECOL has provided nearly 5000 hours of instruction to more than 120 students. The program has been so successful that we have new students from partner programs across the United States, Kenya, South Africa, and Uganda joining us each week. And this fall we are expanding to Tel Aviv, Israel!

Thank you to our Brand Supporters

Be the Light

Photo Start relies on donations to operate. Your generous gift today will brighten the tomorrows of our students.

On mobile? Text FOCUSLIGHT to 44-321 for instant donation!

Be the Light

Photo Start relies on donations to operate. Your generous gift today will brighten the tomorrows of our students.