There are so many layers to a photograph: the ability to share a story and to evoke emotions; the power to expand the viewer’s field of vision; the universal language it speaks; and most importantly, the ability to create new meanings. For each photograph there is a story behind, one within, and one in front of the picture. And this story continues to evolve each time the photograph is placed in a new context.
At Lensational, we are convinced of the potential of photography in driving social change, including addressing gender inequalities. As a communicative tool, photography allows women to document the circumstances they live in, share their stories, develop creative and communicative skills, and work towards making independent choices for themselves.
Our work starts way before the classroom. We collect cameras that are given a second life, and we identify communities of women and girls that could benefit from using photography to express themselves. And our mission goes far beyond the relatively short teaching experience. We follow the progress of our students, and we bring their work to the attention of audiences across the globe on our online photo platform and via exhibitions. Through this long process, we aim to empower women in a lasting and sustainable manner.
In a highly visualised and fast-paced world, we want to make the best use of the impact of imagery and the power of storytelling. Our starting point is to make sure that the stories of women who might otherwise be voiceless are heard and seen, and that they are told from the women’s very own perspective. We train and mentor our students in their own communities to use photography to share their personal narratives, empowering them to reflect upon their circumstances and to participate in their visual representation.
Through the work of our photographers, we get a unique and authentic insight into the realities of women across the globe. We allow for a social exploration that, we believe, no other medium can transmit as powerfully as photography.
We also believe in the therapeutic power of photography. As many artistic expressions, photography enables people to cope with their hardships in a way they might not be able to express otherwise. Our community of photography students is continuously growing, and we believe in the power of inspiration by the work and stories of like-minded women, of women who share similar experiences, and who achieved to step out of their daily routines. And of course it’s fun! Posing in front of the camera, immortalising happy moments, reliving memories through watching pictures – the positive sentiments related to photography are as strong as its critical dimension.