Introducing ‘New Perspectives’ our new advanced training program – 2023 Cohort

Introducing ‘New Perspectives’ our new advanced training program – 2023 Cohort
November 5, 2023 Lydia Wanjiku

This past weekend marked a significant milestone for Lensational as we proudly launched our first new advanced training program, New Perspectives. This innovative initiative has been carefully designed to uplift and enhance the skills of emerging women documentary photographers. It is a step forward in our commitment to working with women from diverse backgrounds and facilitating a way for their stories to be heard across the world. As we sought to respond to growing interest in the work of our photographers, we realized that there was a need for more structured support to help them excel in commissioned assignments. Thus, we found ourselves asking: How can we equip our photographers with the skills to tackle assignments independently?

Simultaneously, our photographers began recognizing opportunities to document and share stories within their communities, However, the challenge that arose for us was how to effectively support them in ensuring that, as mostly novice to intermediate photographers, they could capture these stories in a manner that was both meaningful and respectful, while portraying their communities with the dignity they deserve. 

In parallel, we aim to expand our network of photographers to different regions. Looking at the bigger picture, we are currently working on establishing a small grants program that will further empower our network of photographers to produce impactful photo stories while ensuring that their stories align with the high standards we uphold, which prioritize the documentation of raw and authentic realities while maintaining the dignity of the subjects involved. This is in line with our commitment to provide economic empowerment to the women we work with.

Selecting the best

Out of forty-three applications received in response to our call for participation, we carefully handpicked eight remarkable women from various corners of the world. Kenya, Ghana, Zambia, Spain, Hong Kong, Trinidad and Tobago, and Guyana are represented in our diverse cohort. The selection process was based on several factors, one of which was the strength of the proposed photo project. Our experience has shown that this is a reliable indicator of genuine interest and commitment to seeing the program through to the end.

Program Highlights

The New Perspectives program is firmly rooted in the principles of documentary photography. Over the next few months, these remarkable women will embark on a journey of skill development. They will explore topics such as ethical photography, advanced composition, storytelling techniques, and the intricacies of pitching and securing funding. This comprehensive training will be facilitated by a team of seasoned professionals dedicated to the cause: Carola Cappellari, Margherita Dameti, Thays Prado, and Lydia Wanjiku, our CEO.

Meet our facilitators

Margherita Dameti

Born in Milan in 1980, she graduated in Arabic in 2004 and embarked on her career in the humanitarian sector, residing and traveling between the Middle East and Africa. Her professional journey in photography began as she documented the realities she encountered through her work. She received photography training at Fondazione Forma / NABA in Milan, the Italian Institute of Photography in Milan, and Photovoice in London. In 2013, she co-founded "Il Maestro & Margherita - Ethical and sustainable photography", a photographic studio project inspired by the principles of social enterprises. She is engaged in both commercial photography and the development of commissioned and personal photo reportages, often employing participatory photography techniques. Since 2017, she has supported Lensational, a social enterprise that utilizes photography to empower women in the most vulnerable communities in Asia and Africa. Since 2018, she has been a member (and now vice president) of the Italian Women Photographers' association. In 2019 she started a collaboration with the Photography group of the Women's House Association in Milan.

Thays Prado

Thays is a seasoned professional with a diverse skill set in journalism, screenwriting, and documentary filmmaking. She holds degrees from renowned institutions such as UCLA and the London School of Economics and Political Science. With over sixteen years of experience, she has dedicated a decade of her career to advancing gender issues. Her career journey began as a reporter, focusing on sustainable development, and she later transitioned to roles as a content manager, editor, and film director. Thays's commitment to gender equality is evident in her work at UN Women, where she coordinated communication projects, facilitated storytelling workshops for women and girls, and managed a sports-for-development program. She also developed a gender mainstreaming strategy at BBC Media Action. Currently, Thays is the Gender Advisor for the Centre for Sport and Human Rights, focusing on gender issues in global sports. Additionally, she founded "Feminist Futures," an organization that uses feminist principles and storytelling to envision transformative futures. Thays's career and advocacy exemplify her dedication to gender equality and women's empowerment.

Carola Cappalleri

Carola Cappellari is a documentary photographer and educator currently based in Turkey. Her work begins autobiographically, with the stories and circumstances of close people and acquaintances providing the inspiration to explore broader notions of identity, mental health, belonging, and migration. She is interested in the use of photography as a mode of co-creation, whether through performance, installation, or participatory practices. With a background in education and a master's in intercultural inclusion, she has collaborated with AIYD, SGDD-ASAM and other enterprises to deliver photography and storytelling workshops to women and children from refugee communities in South Turkey.

The launch of our New Perspectives training program is a significant step forward in our mission to empower women documentary photographers who are rarely heard. By providing these talented individuals with the skills and support they need to thrive, we aim to amplify their voices and continue sharing compelling stories from around the world. We are excited about the potential impact of this program and look forward to witnessing the powerful narratives that will emerge from these talented women photographers. Stay tuned for updates on their inspiring journey!