This project will help to print 20 photo books - a collection of visual stories from women from different cultures and backgrounds, that often go unseen in the media. By distributing the books to local libraries and community centres, femLENS empowers and educates other women from those communities. Our aim with this project, just as with our exhibitions, is to reach as wide an audience as possible who may otherwise not have access to experiencing documentary photography in their daily lives.
Challenges for rural and other small local communities in Estonia and other countries, where femLENS' participants come from (Poland, Lebanon, Ireland, Russia, Ukraine etc), include declining and aging populations, problems with youth retention, limited economic and social opportunities for residents, depleting natural resources, and loss of local services.
This photo book, as a representative of arts, culture, and heritage should be viewed not only as resource to improve the quality of life but as a foundation upon which the future of these rural/small communities rests. The arts and creative activities can profoundly affect the ability of a town not only to survive over time but to thrive. In addition, it helps to increase the cultural and media representation of women on a local level.
The project will deliver 20 photo books to libraries and community centres in the communities of our workshops participants in 7 different countries. As well as having the book accessible to the communities, we would like to deliver the book to other important institutions to keep "Unlearning the Ordinary: through a lens for the commons*" safe so that the book maybe available in 50 years or more together with other photographic works of this time.