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photography and empowerment

TJ's picture


I have a love for photography. My parents said I started since I discovered an old film camera at the age of 6. In the years that followed they spent a pretty penny or two or three on developing my amateur pictures but never complained. Finally, digital cameras became available to the Guyanese population and they started saving - SOMEWHAT! I need a computer to upload the images to and process before printing.

Anyways, it's more than 20 years later (gosh I'm old!) and I'm still into it. For those of you who have read a post or two from me you would have noticed that they are accompanied by pictures. I think that adding an appropriate image to a post can help to give direction a bit more as it will add to the story.

The picture I choose to use in this post - it's a simple portrait of my maternal grandmother. She's 81 years and still plays badminton with us on the days that it doesn't rain and her arthritis doesn't act up. We'll play cards with her and when playing 'cheat' her voice is normally the loudest. Don't every think you'll win in chinese checkers because she'll eat you alive. Apart from the fun aspects, she is an amazing storyteller. I've learn so much about my heritage and history from her. She is an inspiration of a strong women and we love her dearly. I don't think I could have capture her beauty in words sufficiently as I did in this picture. When I look at the image I feel so many things...

How many of you are into photography and think it can be used for empowerment? What kind of images have you captured or think about capturing? How many of you have questions about photography (feel free to ask!)?

Just thought I'd bring this up as it's something I love and I really do believe that a picture can tell a thousand words. Afterall, it is a multimedia platform and the more ways you can represent a story then the possibility of a larger audience exists because it'll appeal to so many more peopel.




loretta's picture


One of my twin girls is studying photography and the other is studying TV & Film productions. Thanks for your offer of photography questions, I'll let her know and I will pass her questions to you. True photography captures the essence of a story.

I personally photograph for fun and most often scolded :) for out of focus, pixels etc.

Thanks for sharing. Your grandma is beautiful and looks very serene.


A successful woman is one who can build a firm foundation with the bricks others throw at her. Author Unkown.

TJ's picture


Your twins cover my areas of expertiese! I actually did radio and television production - photography is just a hobby but one that adds to my filming techniques! :)

Please feel free to ask me anything you want or they want and I'll try my best to assist!

Thank you for your kind compliments!

loretta's picture

Very well.

Very well, will do so. You're welcome.


A successful woman is one who can build a firm foundation with the bricks others throw at her. Author Unkown.

Gracious's picture

I love photography but TJ

Thank you for bringing this up but i'm appreciating photography at another level by being a model. Just spending my day outdoor with a photographer makes my day, and always appreciate photographers because I personally believe that every picture has it's own theme and there is a message being portrayed. Indeed it is that photograph is worth a thousand words and i've identified a great institution which train in photography and if all goes well for me i'll be joining them very soon to learn more about the beauty and gain skills in photography. I'm so happy to meet someone who appreciate photography like me wow


TJ's picture

all sorts on here :)

Good Morning Gracious!

There are many different personalities on this forum. I'm not much of a model - I think I'd want to direct the photographer too much and I enjoy being behind the camera! :)

I actually was on a shoot the other day with some fellow photographers in my country. We get together and do walks and so forth from time to time or set up shoots that are specific so that we can develop. I think I'll put together an 'empowerment' themed one for the holidays!

All the best with the photography and keep in contact!


Gracious's picture

I'll keep in touch

Morning to you but here it's 11:30pm at night, time to sleep but I love being in front of the camera just posing for photos. I'll follow my dream thank you.


Jennifer Brier's picture

Yes-Powerful Image!

The picture of your grandmother is gorgeous. It really captures the depth of wisdom in her. Thank you for sharing it! I am very interested in photography. I have always had a love for it. I would like to save up for a digital SLR camera. Until then I can take some pictures with my 'point and shoot' digital camera. I have had some difficulties with posting my pictures on my blog posts. Any suggestions or specific directions? I am pretty computer savvy but haven't figured that out yet.

Maybe you/we could start a group on WP for posting pictures. It could be a different theme every week, month, or quarter....compassion, challenge, wisdom. I look forward to seeing more of your pictures. Blessings!


"I am a woman, that's my weapon!" ~Catherine Robbins

TJ's picture

Nail on the head!

I was thinking along those same lines Jennifer! :) Let's look into it more...

Concerning the uploads - it has a maximum size of 4 megabytes - 4MB - (this is just above 4000 kilobytes). Even when I try with about 2MB pictures it's slow and sometimes doesn't get posted. So what I do is to open in "Microsoft Office Picture Manager', click on 'Edit Picture', on the side menu bar that opens up I select 'Resize' then select 'Web Small' in the drop down menu under 'Predefined width x height:' - Save and try to reupload.

Besides size I haven't had much more problems with uploading. Let me know if that works!


Jennifer Brier's picture


I will try this! I have a MAC but I'm sure there is a similar option.

Thanks again!


"I am a woman, that's my weapon!" ~Catherine Robbins

TJ's picture


I'm not a MAC user but that's about the gist of it! :)

PeopleWeaver's picture

Grandmother and pictures

I love the picture of your grandmother. I hope you show her your post – she will be so proud you think so highly of her.

I’ve used pictures in my posts.

I also use pictures in my work in Uganda < >. The pictures are often not as clear as I’d like. The people have very dark complexions and I’m blonde. But every once in a while I get a wonderful picture.

And, by the way, you aren’t old. I’m 63 and still young. :-)


TJ's picture

here's a hint ...

Ensure that people are not backing the main light source whenever possible :) skin tones are tricky!

:) Yes my grandmother knows how highly we think of her - I actually did a piece on her for an edition in a magazine - can't wait to see her reaction! :)

Sophie's picture


Thanks for your post, for sure images make a difference. I love pictures for social aspects and enjoy this. Pictures do tell stories

Sophie Ngugi
Child of the Universe

TJ's picture

No problem.

No problem.

Iryna's picture


First of all, TJ, I want to say you are a lucky person because you have an amazing grandmother and parents who give you a lot of opportunities to grow in the way you want. I am a "late child'', and it's already ten years I don't have any of my grandparents, but every time I recall them I do it with big love and respect. Please, TJ, enjoy this precious relations and try to keep with you all the warmest moments and bring them carefully to your children.
And second, I want to agree with you about pictures. I am as crazy as you trying to decorate my every text with a picture. I also adore photography, but most of all I adore to notice tiny beautiful things of this word.

Warmest greetings from Ukraine,

TJ's picture

Don't worry! I most certainly

Don't worry! I most certainly am enjoying every minute possible!

One simple picture can give so many messages than can be written down.
And the best part of a picture is that it has a universal language. A picture can be read by anyone no matter which country, which culture, which language an individual is attributed do.

I am into photography. Not a professional. But I carry a camera with me always. I have done it for the first moment I could afford to buy a camera - that was 18 years ago. Gosh I am getting old :) I had my 38th birthday just 10 days ago :)
That reminds me, I still have to buy my birthday gift for myself. This time I intend to buy a camera that can do underwater as well above water.

The first one I had was a camera which required the traditional roll and we had to wait until the photos were printed for us to see what we have captured. after that I had a floppy camera - know those floppy disks?
and then I moved onto digital cameras and have outgrown/lost/updated four different ones over the years. Now I am not happy with the quality of the images with my current one. There is so much variety out there in the market.

I know!!! I am droning on.... It has been so long since I visited over to WorldPulse. I have been too busy.

Anyways, your grandmother looks very beautiful and the portrait is beautiful - lovely photography.


TJ's picture

You're not old - read the

You're not old - read the comments above and you'll see a lady who is OVER 60 years YOUNG! :D

I don't think you droned on - brough out a wonderful point "photography transcends barriers". As it relates to this point we need to ensure we're very careful with the photographs we take and upload - a wrong composition, colour, etc can send the wrong message.

Good to have you back for awhile! Hope all's going great with you.


Maya Norton's picture

Grandmother stories are the

Grandmother stories are the best; even more so with a beautiful photograph to accompany it. Thanks, TJ.

What is her name? And what do you call grandmothers where you are from?

~ Maya

TJ's picture

Hi Maya, I agree :D love

Hi Maya,

I agree :D love grandmother stories. We call her "Modo" a playful version of 'mother' as she is the matriarch of the family!

Here we say "grandma", "Nani", "grams" - depends on the household. A lot of the time a funny nickname sticks due to an infant's mispronunciation while learning to speak! :D

Maya Norton's picture

Sounds like that's true for

Sounds like that's true for everywhere in the world. :)

~ Maya

Greengirl's picture

Hello TJ

Your Grandmother is undoubtedly beautiful and I can imagine how stunning she most have been years back. Of course she has obviously not lost that evidence as seen in the Picture in your post. I also love photography particularly the ones that focus on nature. Would you also consider putting together a nature themed collection?

Much love to your grandma. You too!

TJ's picture

Hello Greengirl - I have

Hello Greengirl - I have thousands (yes literally thousands) of photographs! What were you thinking of when you mentioned nature themed? :)


Greengirl's picture


Thanks for your response.

I know you mentioned something about putting together empowerment themed photographs; and it was in that light that I suggested that you also share collections of nature oriented photographs . By using the term nature themed, I meant pictures that tell the story of your/our Environment/Eco-system.

Delphine Criscenzo (World Pulse Outreach and Training Associate) once suggested that members of the World Pulse should share pictures that tell nature's story. Though, I have not had the time to put together a collection along the line of her suggestion, I have no doubt that with your expertise in Photography, you can come up with wow pictures that focus on the environment. I hope you understand, and be sure that I will be on the look out for your GREEN Pictures..


TJ's picture

thank you

Now I have a photo challenge on my hand which is awesome! I'll go brush through my archives and see if I have some that can tell a story...and put a collage together and upload.

Thank you for the back information!



hello Greengirl

I can say hello greenwomen, because I am the one of the greenwomen in the Republic Democratic of Congo. I like the Nature and to protect it and the all biodiversity and the ecosystems. Now, I have seen the photography of your grandmother. I thank you for that. When I see that, I remember my mother. She is old and she has 85 years older. I live with her in my family because she is very tired. But; I remember how she worked to grow us. I am the fifth in a family of 9 children. Our mother had very strengh. I have a lot of respect to all the old personalities.
About the photographies; I like them because;when a person died; we can forget him if we have his photography. But if we haven't that, we can't forget him.



TJ's picture

I'll try with the nature shots :)

I just like photography in general :) I'll try with the nature shots! :D Keep checking for updates concering those :D

otahelp's picture

is all said already

More photos! more photos!! more photos!!!. its photos all the way. It captures the essence of life and event. no word can actually match a photo. Keep clicking from all direction and it will always tell its story.

kudos TJ and all who appreciates photography

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Initiative
Lets keep the light shining

TJ's picture


I can imagine you jumping up and down yelling more photos (are you?) :) Thank you and will continue posting them.

HOPE tOWELA's picture

How nice

I really like what you love doing, I agree with you every picture, has a story , keep it up, we will sure learn one or two things from you.take care.


TJ's picture

thank you

:) I'll most definitely keep it up since I've had such wonderful responses from you all!

TJ's picture

Group Created!

Good Morning All

For those of you who have expressed an interest in a photography group, please be advised that I've created one here on World Pulse

Name: Photography and Empowerment

Looking forward to having you join and let's continue the discussions there :)


ola.mahadi's picture

lovely lady

I love photography i always tookl family gathering pictures and lucky me ended up falling in llove with great photogrpher so i some time enjoy being the model.
Hope we will use the group well and wish i managed to have my own camera soon

It is never too late to try make your way to your dream and left up your expectation.
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