Yash Mangalick’s work embodies the popular idiom that a picture is worth a thousand words.
The 15-year-old aspiring photojournalist and a sophomore at Edina High School in Edina, Minnesota, was one of two featured youth artists at “Our Truth, Through Our Eyes,” a youth-led and organized PhotoVoice exhibit focused on youth trauma, in collaboration with The City of Minneapolis ReCast and Art is My Weapon in October.
Mangalick and Myesha Powell, 17, another featured artist, produced works of art using photography to tell stories of trauma shared by youth living in Minneapolis, and surrounding areas.
The two teens, through their photographs, tell stories of mental health, sexuality, homelessness and abusive relationships, according to MPR News. Their goal, it said, is to connect people with the struggles that are shaping the next generation.
“Youth have to go through this very difficult trauma — especially when they’re so unsure of themselves and have so little knowledge of how the world works, this trauma can be extremely harmful,” Mangalick told MPR News.
He said a visit to his parents’ hometown of Vrindavan, India, where he “listened to the story of a woman who was sold as a child bride and later ostracized from her family as a widow,” spurred him to focus on social justice issues.
“The hope that was in their eyes when I was taking their pictures and talking to them showed me that journalism has this power to make people hopeful,” Mangalick told the publication. “You’re taking all these struggles that people have experienced and giving them a purpose, by educating and trying to make sure they don’t happen again.”
In a TEDx talk Dec. 12, Mangalick revealed that he is involved in congressional debate, competitive speech, competitive robotics, and boy scouts as well as the student leadership group, Edina 212, but photography has emerged as his passion.
He said he has traveled to 15 different countries on four continents, his camera ready, and he has noticed – and is working to combat– the gradual blurring of lines between documentary and idealistic photography.