“My camera is my weapon of mass creativity and as the artist behind the lens I can capture reality’s truth with the hope to influence thought in those around me.” – Aitina Fareed-Cooke (GFP CEO & Founder)
The Story Behind the Lens.
The image you see is the only photo that Aitina has of her and her biological mother together. When she was 14 months old her and her siblings were taken away from her mother due to neglect and placed into foster care. When Aitina was three years old she lost her mother to a drug overdose. Growing up she was labeled as a failure to thrive due to her tragic beginnings.
After this tragedy, her story could’ve led down a dark path but a glimmer of hope came with one flash of the camera. It takes a village to raise a child and Aitina was no different, it was through the support of her Buffalo community (her adoptive mother, mentors and youth programs) that helped her turn her pain into purpose.
Through YO! Buffalo (Youth Opportunity) a local program Aitina was introduced to various organizations and programs throughout Buffalo, one of which was CEPA Gallery, a full-service contemporary photography and visual arts center. It was at CEPA Gallery where Aitina learned about the magic of photography. Aitina learned to rewrite her story and give other young people from similar backgrounds, the power to do the same.
Inspired by this magic of photography and its ability to stop time, Aitina started Get Fokus’d Productions, providing project based storytelling through photography & film as well as digital media workshops for youth and young adults in various schools, programs, and organizations.
Aitina desires to capture truth with hope to encourage thought in those around her. She approaches subjects with delicacy and a passion to capture them naturally.
What makes Get Fokus’d Productions unique is that part of the mission is to hire teens between the age of 14-17 as apprentices/interns with every contract earned. Also, when a client invests in photography, film, digital media workshop services, an investment is made into our Young & Fokus'd movement where we find youth who are dedicated and driven to achieving their goals.
Aitina wants her love of photography and film to spill over onto the community, her native Buffalo, the city that has given her so much that she desires to give back and the pictures she holds so dearly, are the proof.
Capture. Teach. Give Back.