femLENS, the non-profit association aimed at empowering women through documentary photography, is presenting work done in partnership with the International Women* Space in Berlin between May and June 2019, and during the Kunst trotz(t) Ausgrenzung (Art despite Exclusion) festival in July 2019.

femLENS held a series of workshops in which women from diverse backgrounds learned the history of documentary photography, photographic techniques, photo editing techniques using mobile applications and writing accompanying text.

The produced photo stories are based on their lives in Berlin. The subjects of these photo stories are as individual as the women themselves, offering the viewer access to their personal and unique perspective as they move through their environment.

Photo by Mai’a Williams

The workshop participants expressed a new understanding of the power of photography, of seeing their work in print. And also spoke about the pleasure of the process of photographing other people, speaking with them, building trust and understanding.

The World Press Photo Foundation, the host of the world’s largest photography contest, conducted a 2016 study that found women represent a minority—only about 15%—of participants. Through the femLENS workshops and public art shows, femLENS founder Jekaterina Saveljeva hopes to reverse that trend while empowering women to develop their own voice. “One needs to be brave to declare to people that your view of the world matters even if there is no world-renowned publication backing you. This courage can bleed into other spheres of life and then they can influence what is happening in their lives more proactively,” Saveljeva explains.

The “Women by Women” exhibition will show the work of femLENS workshop participants from Ireland, Poland, Lebanon and two series of workshops in Berlin at Regenbogen on Saturday 16 August, 2019, starting at 18.00 at a Solidarity event by the International Women* Space.

Photos by Heawon

The 2019 workshops have been made possible with the generosity of the International Women* Space and Kunst trotz(t) Ausgrenzung (Art despite Exclusion) festival. By exhibiting the photos made during the workshops, femLENS demonstrates the importance of spaces like IWS and events such as Kinst trotz(t) Ausgrenzung, as well as the value of volunteer work and skill-sharing in the local community.

International Women Space (IWS) is a feminist, anti-racist political group in Berlin with migrant and refugee women and non-migrant women as members. We fight patriarchy and document everyday violence, racism, sexism and all kinds of discrimination.

The traveling exhibition “Art despite exclusion” seeks a public discussion on the social exclusion phenomena. Artists who place themselves in very different ways socially and culturally, invite, with their works, a wide audience to gain new perspectives on a society of diversity and to find their own point of view in a central political debate.

Saturday 16 August 2019
Lausitzer Str. 22, 10999 Berlin

Cover photo by Lica Stein