Lessons learnt inspired new ideas
One of the most important lessons she has learnt was from a man who was a refugee in a camp called Kakuma in Kenya. “While working for a non-governmental organisation (NGO) documenting their projects in the camp, this man from Ethiopia approached me to find out what I was photographing.” She explained her project, after which he asked when the people of the camp would get copies of the photographs. When explaining to him that they will most likely never get copies since the NGO uses the images as part of fundraising he became very upset. He told her about how he had lived in the camp for 15 years, trapped in uncertainty. During that time, photographers had come in and out of the camp; photographing his family, his friends, himself, yet here he was without a single image of his own. “His history and story completely invisible, a man in permanent limbo.”
That conversation struck her to her core and lead her to completely re-evaluate the importance and significance of photography, both in the world and personally. It inspired her ‘Street Studio’ series, in which she creates public outdoor portrait studios in areas where people wouldn’t usually have access to family photographs. “We have a portable printer on site and offer free family and individual photographs to anyone passing by.” So far, she has created 11 studios in 5 different countries, including refugee camps in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Sudan.