Book Unlearning the ordinary: through a lens for the commons

PRESS RELEASE (Berlin, Germany, August 31, 20202) femLENS, an Estonia-based non-profit association, is proud to announce the launch of the book Unlearning the Ordinary: through a lens for the commons*” to celebrate five years of documentary photography workshops with women and girls from diverse cultural and economic backgrounds.

“Unlearning the Ordinary: through a lens for the commons*” is documentation of what might, should or does matter.

The book features photo stories by women and girls from 9 countries and many more nationalities, their age ranging from 14-64, who participated in our workshops, and have documented stories important to them.

“They are the people living the realities that the media has been portraying through the prism of its own interests. The devastation of nature in Ukraine by overconsumption and loss of common values. The impact of migration on those who stayed and those who had to leave due to a breakdown of society through war, due to economic collapse or due to a perceived inability to have an effect on one’s own country. They are the young who want to not forget and the elderly who want to always remember what once mattered. They are women living with physical, as well as social, disabilities, looking for their own strength in a world that would rather victimise them than make space for more than one reality to exist. And so many others,” wrote Jekaterina Saveljeva, the founder of femLENS, in the introduction to the book.

“Why should photographs be stuck on the wall? Or better ask yourself why should the photos be stuck online, on social media pages? Books are still real and physical artefact that we can’t lose appreciation for. A photo book will engage not only your sight but your tactile feeling. You can enjoy visual art and share it with your friends. Owning a photo book makes you not only an art collector but an archiver. Stories from the past can be saved and handed over to the future generations,” writes Maria Vesselko, femLENS co-founder.

“A photo book for me is essential because it is a physical result of someone’s work. During the making of a photo book you continue to develop the idea of the story by choosing the photos, thinking about the order of the photos, and reliving the captured moments. And then, it can take you on a journey and raise the veil of secrecy of someone’s life. By looking through a printed photo book, you can involve all your senses: sight, smell, touch, and who knows, maybe even taste and hearing. Just clicking through photos on your cellphone or on the laptop won’t give you the same experience,” explains Irina Tolkki, Marketing and Communication coordinator.

You can order the book on

Please join us on Thursday September 3, 2020 at 19.00 CEST for a virtual launch party or come to Buchhandlung Cafe in Berlin, Mitte at 18.00 CEST to meet some of the workshop participants and take part in the live stream.



∙ Education ∙ Life-long Learning ∙ Inclusion and Diversity ∙ Visual Story-telling ∙

∙ Community and Women Empowerment ∙ Diversity of Visions ∙

Guiding principles

GENDER EQUALITY – Promote participation of women in leadership in society, community, and specifically media and arts.

DIVERSITY INCLUSION – Provide access to education to women from communities with limited resources to diversify the media and arts.

HUMAN RIGHTS – The educational efforts aim to reach women in communities with limited resources to improve their access to education taking into account the significant social, cultural, economic and structural obstacles.


Women to Watch: Meet the Photographer Empowering Women to Tell Their Stories — Wanderful

Innovating in the fight against trafficking — News24

Introducing “We See,” the documentary photography magazine encouraging women to become agents of change — ResourceMag

Photography helps Shatila women break boundaries — The Daily Star, Lebanon

Women also take pictures — femLENS exhibition in Gdynia — Dziennik Baltycki, Poland


femLENS is a non-profit association designed to support women’s voices in being more included in the cultural and media representation.

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