By Adam Ali, 2012 Gold Key winner and ASAP Award recipient

Adam Ali, a rising senior from Chicago, IL, will be the first to tell you he’s a city boy. Yet this young photographer is keen to show others neither soaring skylines nor the picture-postcard views his commercial peers capture. Instead, Adam uses his lens to highlight little-noticed aspects of urban environments.

I’d like the viewers to notice what they usually ignore,” he says, “To be reminded of what they’ve abandoned.”

This summer Adam left the Windy City to attend a precollege program at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA) in Boston, Massachusetts. The ASAP Award recipient continued his studies in photography and explored every nook and cranny of the historic New England city to find similar evidence of human neglect and urban decay. But the images that emerged were often, surprisingly, as inspiring as they were thought-provoking.

“Each photo arose from a different idea,” explains Adam. “The photo of the ducks (pictured above) shows how nature reclaims decay, as the family swims by that broken piece of bridge.”

Being in Boston and at SMFA also opened Adam’s eyes in other ways. He learned how to work and cooperate with other photographers as partners, and was impressed with the wide array of activities and art classes offered to students. The Museum of Fine Arts also awed him: “It has a great collection of both art and history,” he reports.

The summer broadened his view, too, as he begins to think about his life after Chicago High School for the Arts.

“I am now more open to options for colleges, other than ones near my home,” the Chicagoan admits. “I liked this experience and am considering getting out more.”  We look forward to seeing where his camera—and his talent—will take him!

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