Female Empowerment


Before I knew what feminism was, I was already a feminist. Not really by choice and not really by accident either. I was (and continue to be) raised by a mother who is an incredible feminist role model. From her, I learned to harness the drive to succeed and go after my dreams despite the harsh realities of being a woman in this world. If you are a feminist you believe in equal opportunities for men and women. I admire women who pursue careers, sports, hobbies, and lifestyles that tend to be male dominated (AKA most things). And by doing so, women are slowly changing these statistics. So I decided that I wanted to capture the women in my life who exhibit female empowerment in the avenues that they love. These are friends, family, teachers, artists, athletes, and professionals of all different kinds. Through these photos, I will tell their stories. And in doing so, my wish is that they will inspire you just as they have me. 

For my first story, I photographed my friend, Kelsey, a medical school student who is about to be accepted into a residency program to become a doctor in Family Medicine. In addition to becoming a doctor, Kelsey is training to become a yoga instructor. She strongly emphasizes and believes in the power of yoga and mindfulness to maintain a healthy lifestyle. We wanted to capture her doing yoga outside with the sun shining down from the bright blue sky above and the birds singing in the trees...However, the night before our shoot, El Nino decided to pay us a visit after a bit of a hiatus, and this time it came down in full force. It was windy and stormy and far from a sunny day at the park! But that was not about to stop us. Kelsey braved the weather and got to posing.

The shots ended up being even more wonderful than we could have planned. The weather created a moody and powerful aura. In essence, it was a true depiction of our lives and the constant work it takes to create well being in our hearts and for those around us, no matter what challenges we face. And Kelsey is no stranger to challenges. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 17 years old. You’ll notice that Kelsey has a white device on her right arm. That is a continuous glucose monitor which transmits her blood sugar level to an app on her phone. On her left thigh she is wearing an Omnipod insulin pump, which secretes insulin through a little tube under her skin to maintain good blood sugar levels. These devices allow her to stay active and give her better and more accurate control over her diabetes. When her doctor gave her the options to monitor her blood sugar levels she insisted on the one that allowed her to continue practicing yoga. Like I said, she's one tough cookie and she plans to lead by example. 

Shani LeeadComment