Photography and media for change
I am a professional photographer and web designer originally from Finland, but I have lived in the US for much of my life. In 2011, I travelled to Lesotho in Southern Africa as part of the crew of the film The Forgotten Kingdom. Very quickly, I fell in love with the breathtaking scenery, incredible people and rich culture of this tiny mountain kingdom. Only a month after the completion of filming, I found that I had left behind my life in North Carolina, and had returned to Lesotho.
I have spent the majority of the past seven years living in Morija, a small town in Lesotho. During this time, I have used my skills to help many organisations and movements that are working to effect positive change in the country. These include Ba re e ne re Literature Festival, Alliance Francaise de Maseru, The Peoples Matrix, The Nala Project, Bonono Merchants, HOHA Wear, Mokhabebe Clothing, Morija Museum & Archives, Flava of Africa and Africa’s Green Generation.
On August 11, 2015 we launched The Hub – a creative technology lab that provides affordable access to computers, a library, the internet and digital media training to the community of Morija, Lesotho. In addition to being open for 5 days a week as a resource space, The Hub delivers a range of programs – including skills sessions, motivational talks, digital media workshops and community events.
The primary focus of The Hub is to:
- Provide affordable access to the internet and computers to community members in the Morija region.
- To foster a community of young people in Morija who are skilled, inspired, motivated and socially conscious.
- Offer workshops on a range of subjects including: basic computer skills, photography, film making, human rights, creative writing, animation, professional writing skills.
Causes in the US that I have worked with in the past few years include:
- Peak Lab Rescue (Apex, North Carolina)
- Organics & Sounds (Durham, North Carolina)
- Pickards Mountain Eco-Institute (Chapel Hill, North Carolina)
- West Southern Pines Young Leadership Program (Southern Pines, North Carolina)
- Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sandhills (Southern Pines, North Carolina)
In Lesotho and the US, I also use my skills whenever I can to support up-and-coming as well as established artists and musicians.
To me, photography is a tool that allows me to meaningfully and creatively support movements and organisations such as these. Devoting my time and skills to causes that I care about allows me to portray their needs, work and successes to a wide audience, helping them to get more exposure, which can lead to funding, support and solidarity from people around the world.