The Hong Kong-based Lensational has set out on a mission to liberate women who have grown up in poverty and without much education by teaching self-expression through photography.
Lensational is a social enterprise that aims to empower women economically and emotionally through photography. It works through local volunteers and with local organizations to provide photography workshops and leadership lessons to women and girls.
Seeking to empower economically and socially marginalized women throughout the world, Lensational is a remarkable company that uses photography to enable women who might not otherwise have the opportunity to both express themselves and achieve financial independence.
Despite high-pressure, incessant work, a group of creative and hopeful women seek confidence and agency through photography.
New Internationalist (30 April 2016, print edition): Surfer Girls defy Convention
W4 had the honor of sitting down with Lensational, an international social enterprise that seeks to empower women and girls through the power of photography.
One of my favorite quotes about photography comes from Annie Leibovitz, the famed portrait photographer most known for snapping famous people and coveted Vanity Fair spreads. Leibovitz says that “emotional content is an image’s most important element, regardless of the photographic technique. Much of the work I see these days lacks the emotional impact to draw a reaction from viewers, or remain in their hearts.”
Empowering women and providing them with a voice in developing countries is by no means an easy task, but this is the mission which the founders of Lensational decided to undertake when they created their social enterprise in 2013.
The Hindu (29 February 2016): Capturing a woman’s world
Four photographers share their stories as part of a symposium at the Chennai Photo Biennale.
ABC (12 November 2015): Lensational: Initiative aims to empower marginalised women through photography
A new social enterprise called Lensational is empowering marginalised women in developing countries through photography, allowing them to share their lives and have their voices heard by giving them cameras and training.
Mashable (4 October 2015): This startup uses photography to empower women around the world
Bonnie Chiu has used photography to express herself for as long as she can remember. But it was a chance encounter with a group of teenage girls in Istanbul, Turkey, that changed the way the 22-year-old looked at the art forever.
South China Morning Post (17 July 2015): Behind the lens: Hong Kong domestic helpers discover their hidden talent for photography
In the second part of our series, SCMP brings in focus two Indonesian maids/photographers Sinna Hermanto and Asti Maria
Dhaka Tribune (19 March 2015): Simply Lensational
Lensational’s radical way of breaking stereotypes in Bangladesh and beyond
The Guardian (2 January 2015): Altered images: photography as a tool for gender equality
From domestic workers in Hong Kong to the children of sex workers in Lahore, 22-year-old Bonnie Chiu believes that cameras can empower girls and women
The Express Tribune (22 December 2014): Lensational: a click of hope
Lensational is a global community enterprise, aspiring to empower women in developing countries -all by equipping them with cameras and photography training. In September 2013, at the age of 20 Bonnie Chiu, co-founder and director of Lensational, travelled to Pakistan to conduct photography workshops. The London based entrepreneur, who is the brains behind the enterprise spoke to The Express Tribune about Lensational.
Awards & Recognition
Forbes Under 30 Summit 2015
Bonnie Chiu joins community of Forbes Under 30 Summit. Read ahead!
SIGEF, Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum
A group of young individuals and social entrepreneurs was selected to showcase their socially innovative projects at SIGEF 2015. Lensational became second. Find out more on the SIGEF website.
Hivos Social Innovation Award 2014
Bonnie Chiu from Lensational was selected as the winner in the prototype category. The jury based its choice Lensational’s simple, but very modern and viable way of empowering poor urban women in Pakistan with – recycled digital cameras. They were also impressed by the fact that Bonnie Chiu, only 22 years old, has already developed a sound social enterprise and managed to engage with a wide array of stakeholders. Read ahead!
London School of Economics
Lensational is one of LSE’s student and alumni businesses. Find out more!