Perez Hilton – Blogger and Television Personality
Rachelle Lee Smith has created a book that is not only visually stunning but also gripping with powerful words and even more inspiring young people! This is an important work of art! I highly recommend buying it and sharing it!
Portraits of a Revolution: Photographer Rachelle Lee Smith gives lesbian and gay youth an outlet to speak for themselves.
Simple, yet powerful photos of queer youth speak reams
Kevin Jennings, Executive Director of the Arcus Foundation, former Assistant Deputy Secretary of Education, leader of the Obama Administration’s anti-bullying initiative and founder of Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)
Rachelle Lee Smith’s innovative photographs allow us to see LGBT youth in authentic ways where they give voice to and name their own experiences. A truly eye-opening set of work!
Sean Buffington – President, The University of the Arts
Rachelle Lee Smith’s photographic project presents us with the face and the voice of this generation of LGBT youth: they are passionate, angry, funny, and committed. As an openly gay educational leader, I think this project is critical–not only for young queer people, but for their teachers, parents, mentors, and friends. We need to put this project in libraries and schools across the country!
Candace Gingrich – HRC’s Associate Director for Youth & Campus Engagement
Queer youth have a powerful story to tell and Rachelle Lee Smith has given voice to them through her stark, gorgeous photography. Speaking Out captures the essence of LGBTQ young people – proud, visible and with something important to say. Smith’s collection offers a glimpse of Generation Equality you won’t easily forget.
ShapingYouth.org – providing an authentic lens that helps to debunk stereotypes, open hearts and minds, and document the massive movement and colossal changes in the last decade that have shifted seismically in the lives of these kids.
A then + now photographic essay of feelings, changes, looks and growth from the very individuals growing up smack dab amidst these history-making culture shifts…It’s like a StoryCorps Smithsonian moment in photo essay form!
There are profound reasons this book deserves to come to light in an affordable, accessible manner, helping an entire generation
Queerty –This collection of youth from all over the world is utterly moving as they show what it’s like to come into your own as part of a community that struggles with its own identity and place in society.
Huffington Post–An incredible new book is in the works that will serve as the culmination of a ten-year effort by photographer Rachelle Lee Smith to document the lives and tell the stories of queer youth.
Malcolm Lazin – Executive Director, Equality Forum
Rachelle Lee Smith’s photographs take us one step closer and provide and inside, emotionally bare look at some of the unheard voices of young queer people. Smith offers a suggestion of the vast numbers of diversity of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth and encourages her subjects to express their own powerful ideas and thoughts. The work is especially impressive in its presentation of image and written narrative of GLBTQ youth.
I have followed Rachelle’s work for over ten years. Her work has made a unique contribution to GLBT civil rights
Zach Wahls – Advocate and Author My Two Moms
These photos will take your breath away. The human experience is endlessly, hopelessly diverse–and these images will show you exactly why we should be nothing but hopeful for the future.
Angela D. Giampolo, Esquire
I highly recommend that everyone hurry up and buy Speaking Out: Queer Youth in Focus now! My friend, colleague and esteemed award-winning photographer, Rachelle Lee Smith, has spent over a decade photographing and memorializing queer youth in a way that showcases the struggle we have ALL faced while coming of age and coming to terms with who we are. This book is so powerful that you even see the present struggles the kids are facing through one look captured from a certain angle. As you turn the pages, you’re hit at your core and brought back to a memory of something you have or are currently dealing with. It’s truly a transformative book published during a time in our collective LGBTQ history when we should be focusing on our queer youth as our future as well as acknowledging and accepting our own personal struggles.
David Graham – Photographer, author Taking Liberties, Almost Paradise
The perfectly executed photographs, the passionate handwritten text, the insights, secrets and revelations all combine to make this a powerful body of work. Ms. Smith has shown a light on a group of young people and illuminated the world in which they live.
Liz Moore – Author, Heft, The Words of Every Song
Rachelle Lee Smith’s art captures something essential about each of her subjects; it transcends the static nature of photography and makes each person come to vivid life on the page. Their written words amplify this sensation. Smith is an artist to watch.
Dr. Warren J. Blumenfeld, Ed.D. – Professor, Iowa State, University of Massachusetts
The young people profiled in this remarkable book represent the tip of the volcano of a new generation transforming and revolutionizing the society and its institutions by challenging overall power inequities related not only to sexuality and gender identity categorizations and hierarchies, but they are also making links in the various types of oppression, and are forming coalitions with other marginalized groups. Their stories, experiences, and activism have great potential to bring us to a future where people across gender and sexuality spectrums will live freely, unencumbered by social taboos and cultural norms of gender and sexuality.
Ryan Sallans – Transgender Speaker and Author of Second Son: Transitioning Toward My Destiny, Love and Life
The power of a look, a pose, and a story can be seen through Rachelle Lee Smith’s photography and the youth who opened up their raw emotions, insecurities and celebrations to us all. Sharing stories saves lives, but also reminds us that there can be continual struggle in finding identity and acceptance.
Innosanto Nagara– Author, A is for Activist, Cofounder, Design Action Collective, Oakland
This is a STUNNING book. And it’s important. It’s important that the next generation is SEEN the way it sees itself. We rightfully put a lot of emphasis on being heard—on words. But a picture is worth a thousand words, and this book’s striking focus on the AESTHETICS of this group of queer youth is thoroughly refreshing. Bravo!
Ed Hermance – Owner Giovanni’s Room, the oldest LGBT book store in America –
It’s wonderful to see so many happy kids. You wouldn’t have seen such a crowd fifty years ago. Sometimes things do get better.
Mark Segal Publisher, Philadelphia Gay News and the nations most awarded LGBT journalist
It’s often said that our youth are our future. In the LGBT community before they become the future we must help them survive today. This book showcases the diversity of creative imagination it takes to get us to tomorrow.
Gretta Vosper, Minister and author With or Without God: Why the Way We Live is More Important than What We Believe
Photography, as its most basic, is a juxtaposition of light and darkness. Capturing an image with the perfect blend of these two things is an art. Rachelle Lee Smith achieves that high standing and raises the bar by bringing not only the light and darkness of the image into focus but also the light and darkness of her subjects. In this profoundly moving and important collection, the art of photography is beautifully pressed beyond its printed product and into the real world where sexuality, love, and identity, and the damage that can be wreaked upon each of them, is exposed. A brilliant light elegantly shone. Thank you, Rachelle.
Carrie Jacobs, PhD – Executive Director, Attic Youth Center (PA)
Rachelle’s work speaks volumes – telling stories that need be told and giving voice to those whose lives need to be heard. She has created an opportunity for LGBTQ youth to express their power and voice. I believe that every young person who witnesses this work will feel a part of that power.
Tom Wilson Weinberg, Founder of Giovanni’s Room, America’s first LGBT Book Store
Rachelle’s photos are full of life and thrilling in their originality. The marriage of photos and text results in mini-biographies of these vibrant young LGBTers.
Human Rights Campaign
Rachelle Lee Smith has created a powerful (art exhibit) sharing the stories of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth. Youth from across the country were photographed and asked to offer their voice, opinions, and comments about their experience as GLBT. In their own words and handwriting, these youth have shared their stories creating a very intimate and personal view on what it is like to be a GLBT person today.
B. Proud – Photographer/Professor
The use of the square format with visible film edges further confines the subjects to a limited environment. They are boxed in. Yet they leap and dance and laugh; they brood or they stare us directly in the eye, their spirits transcending the boundaries of the frame and daring us to be free enough to love, honor and live together in harmony. These are photographs that not only need to be seen, they need to be heard.
Erin Gotthardt – Coordinator, Identity Center (NY)
Being able to display several pieces from this project in our youth center gave Identity Youth the opportunity to see that they are not alone; there are other young people who have experienced the same joy, frustration, sorrow, hatred, love, confusion, peace, ostracism and belonging. Through this project, the youth were able to find the rare accurate mirror of themselves, and to contribute their own faces and voices to the positive self-view of other queer youth.