By Moses C. Andrews, UL Mass Communication Department
Eight Liberian women have graduated and received certificates from a basic photography workshop organized and funded by a not-for-profit organization called Youth Action International (YAI). The women received their certificates at a small graduation ceremony held at the organizations’ Duport Road head office on February 1.
YAI’s Executive Director, Dr. Kimmie Weeks, noted that the program is part of YAI’s ongoing efforts to encourage professionals in various fields to volunteer to host classes in order to pass on their skills and expertise to young Liberians.
He noted that as a result of these efforts, US-based photographer Mrs. Zoe Pappis volunteered her time to lead the workshop for the young women.
Dr. Weeks said: “Around the world, photography is a very important part of storytelling. The reason there is a saying that a single photo speaks a thousand words exemplifies the dynamic nature of photography in telling a story and preserving some of the most intricate moments of history.”
He explained that his organization’s interest in training female photographers was not only because of how that training could be used to help them capture important moments in Liberian history, but also if they would choose to use it as a business opportunity.
Dr. Weeks said: Photography is a massive business opportunity both locally and intentionally. By taking photos at events such as graduations and weddings, the photos these women produce could be sold at a premium abroad.”
Instructor Zoe Pappis, who is a professional New York-based photographer, said she was more than honored to have had the chance to lead Phase One of the training.
Mrs. Pappis said: “My hope for this class was to provide these women with tools and confidence to creatively express themselves. I wanted to instill in them a belief that their unique worldview, once captured and shared, will garner appreciation and praise from those lucky enough to see their work. I hope they are able to use their newfound skills to launch new careers for women in Liberia and inspire generations after them.”
The program is now advancing to Phase Two, which will give participating women the chance to gain advance photography skills.