BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW-TV) - One of the first photographs she ever took was used by CEPA Gallery as an ad. These day Aitina Fareed-Cooke is a professional photographer with her own business called Get Fokus'd Productions.
She says the first time she walked ito CEPA she was a "troubled teen" and that what she found here may have saved her life. "Walking into this space I had burdens and weights on my heart and really had thoughts of just ending my life."
Aitina was only three when she lost her birth mother. She and her siblings were adopted by her foster mother. She says that discovering photography gave her hope "That changed my life and made me feel like alright, maybe I need to stick around."
One of her photographs is a CEPA Members Exhibition Award Winner, and is on display now at the CEPA Gallery inside the Market Arcade. Aitina has become a mentor to other young people through CEPA as well as other organizations. She says "I went into that darkroom and I saw this magic, these images come up on the page, I thought-if my life can change, then I know other young people's life can change."