Empowering photography, a therapeutically aligned pedagogic method that Miina Savolainen has developed personally, is based on concept of empowerment. With the help of the method, photography can be used as the creator of an empowering process for an individual and for different groups, as families and work communities. The method has been applied in the 21st century in education, care work and therapy, and in improving work communities in Finland.
The concept of empowerment applies well to the utilization of photography, since it gives an opinion on the same power issues, which first have to be deconstructed from the photography as well before any empowering can take place. Empowerment means the growth process of inner power, that raises from the subject himself. The vital premise is that you cannot empower another person. It is central to understand this in all care work. The precondition of equality means that the people using the method professionally always go trough first the photographic process by themselves, when being trained to apply the method in their own work community and customer work. In the method of empowering photography the truth of a photography is assigned to serve one's identity work and communicating between people.
Four vital aspects are utilized in the method of empowering photography: album photos, interaction of a photo session, portrait and photographing the themes of everyday life. Photographing are used as means to mend interaction relations; to clarify scattered, emotional and abstract things and to reinforce resources.
A photo session that teaches dialogigy is utilized in family relationships as well as in work relationships by switching the roles of the photographer and the photo's protagonist. Portraits are an intentional device in analyzing and building your different roles, feelings and features as well as accepting one self. Goal-directed photographing of themes of everyday life means both working with the present, resource-eating issues of life and reinforcing the issues that bring strength.
Meaningful but unnoticed aspects that construct an individual or community, can be made visible by photographing. A target in a work community can be reflecting your own work or the primary task as well as empowering the workers or amending the work atmosphere. The empowering projects made with a customer (student, patient) concentrate in supporting the needs of his life situation, family relationships or the self-image.
Empowerment is a process which comes about in social interaction. To function, the method does not require verbal process. The change it produces is often a feeling of intimacy and commitment that stems form the experience of being understood. It is an ability to listen another human being with deeper concentration and a growing experience of your own ability to show love and respect for the close ones.
Empowering photography is a registered trademark.