Travel for Teens Staff are a pretty amazing group of people. This series highlights the individuals who staff our trips, giving you a window onto the people and personalities who are responsible for the rich experiences that TFT offers around the world.

Charlotte Greene, a second-year Junior Counselor with Travel for Teens, brings her upbeat personality and considerable photographic skills to any trip she staffs. When not traveling with TFT, she is a student at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, serving as the editor of photography at her school newspaper. She is a veteran of our Southern Africa Safari Photography and community service programs, where her ability as a photographer really shines. Below, Charlotte writes about her passion for photography and her hopes for the future.

A Muslim woman solemnly looks on at Robben Island in Cape Town, South Africa as she hears the stories of what unfolded behind bars. Photo: Charlotte Greene

I started photography as early as seven years old with my Kodak disposable cameras I would take with me to sleep away camp. My mom was always mad when I would come home because I would never have pictures of people, just things that I thought looked cool. As soon as I got the chance when I was 15 to take a photography course at my high school I took it. Starting out the natural way with 35 mm Minolta manual camera, I began to explore the ins and outs of photography. Using film was a special experience and it got me to really appreciate the art of photography and learn about the history behind it. 

A young Xhosa girl catches my eye as she takes a rest with Mama Tofu in Cintsa, South Africa.

As I continued with photography in high school, I took a digital photography course which propelled me into the world of Photoshop where anything was possible. It was an eye-opening experience for me and it made me realize that photography was actually something I wanted to do with my life. I got in touch with a local photographer, Richard Flaskegaard, who hired me as his assistant. He apprenticed me in the art of portrait photography and allowed me to use his knowledge and equipment to further develop my skills.

I continue to work for him today, constantly learning new things and testing out ideas in his studio, Jack Dog Studio, on Greenwich Ave.

I will always be a photographer in my heart, always snapping imaginary pictures with my hands when the rare moment comes when I do not have my camera. I see things in pictures and I think that allows me to see the world from a different perspective, to see the beauty in the simple things.

It is not like me to make many plans, but, for the future, I would love to do photography as a career, pursuing such options as wedding photography because of the excitement and beauty of it, travel photography because who wouldn’t want to get paid to take pictures, or perhaps teaching to share my passion and love for photography just as my photo instructors have done for me.

– Charlotte Greene