By: Mary Cranston
Documentary photographer, Kristin Lau, will be venturing on her first project with Photographers Without Borders this Fall.
Lau will be working with SunFarmer in Nepal, a non-profit that installs solar energy systems in hospitals, health clinics and schools in the developing world.
SunFarmer has noted that 2.5 billion people around the world lack access to reliable energy. Some hospitals in developing worlds are unable to perform surgery or emergency care after sunset. Schools have to function with no computers, printers or internet access.
According to the Foreign Affairs March/April issue: http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/143063/morgan-d-bazilian/power-to-the-poor
“Providing electricity and modern fuels in the poorest countries can lower the risk of internal unrest. Energy is a precondition to alleviating many other problems associated with poverty, poor health, lack of education and unemployment.”
With the partnership of SunFarmer and PWB, Lau will be providing editorial images and video footage that will tell the stories of families and communities in rural Nepal. She hopes to build awareness around the difficulties of life without electricity and the impact of SunFarmer's work in local Nepali communities.
She will also help SunFarmer build awareness as it continues to install solar energy systems at health clinics, schools, homes and rural villages that are in need.
Professional photography and filmmaking has been a recent part of Lau’s life.
“I’d say my inspiration began in early childhood when I traveled throughout Asia with my family. I took my first photography course in high school while I was living in Hong Kong,” she says.
Originally from Queens, New York, Lau spent the majority of her twenties working in the financial services industry overseas.
“Over the years while living abroad, I have gained a deep understanding and respect for all cultures I have seen,” Lau remarked.
Lau’s photography reflects on her passion for the outdoors, nature and the beauty of life underwater. She has found photography as a tool to share stories, bring awareness to the environment and what is happening around the world.
The adventurist is equipped with a vast array of skills that enhances her photography such as free diving and being a certified PADI open water scuba diving instructor. Lau also studied sailing, marshal arts and mountaineering.
Lau is also a recent post-graduate of photojournalism at Speos, Photographic Institute in Paris, France. She is currently completing continuing education workshops at through OCAD University in Toronto, in the hopes of enhancing her digital media and design skills
While living in Toronto for less then a year, Lau has achieved yet another goal of building a creative photography studio named Luumba with her partner. Luumba provides professional photographic services encompassing commercial, journalistic and portraiture related subjects. Luumba shares a passion for adventure and specialized experience in expedition, underwater and remote location shooting globally.
Lau became connected with Photographers without Borders after meeting the founder, Danielle Da Silva at the Profusion Imaging event that recently took place at the Toronto Metro Centre.
“My partner and I approached Danielle in the hopes of potentially working with her organization. I showed her a recent piece of my work that was published in the Chloe Magazine and she was immediately amazed. We had a great connection and once she told me Nepal was an upcoming project, the planning began,” Lau explained.
This will be Lau’s second time traveling to Nepal. She promises herself to solely focus on the people.
Speaking more about her experiences in Nepal, Lau says, “Once I had my experience in the Everest region of Nepal back in April of 2012, I instantly felt a connection with the people. I try to have my photography embrace the culture. Unexpected scenarios usually come up, which always creates the best image.”
Given her past record at age twenty-nine, Lau has a resume most people can’t fill in a lifetime. While we can’t anticipate what she will accomplish after her trip, it is sure to be something extraordinary.
To see more of Lau's work, please visit: www.kristinlau.com