Lag BaOmer

Mystic photo of the week

LAG BAOMER by Tal Paz Fridman

LAG BAOMER by Tal Paz Fridman

Today’s story behind the picture belongs to a photo taken by our photographer Tal Paz Fridman in Israel: The Jewish holiday of Lag baOmer has many customs. The most well-known, however, is the lighting of bonfires throughout Israel, especially by children and families.

Lag BaOmer (Hebrew: ל״ג בעומר‎) is celebrated on the 33rd day of the so-called Counting of the Omer. It marks the day on which Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai revealed the deepest secrets of Kabbalah in the form of the Zohar (Book of Splendor), a landmark text of Jewish mysticism.

Rumi Hara: “Drawing was a childhood dream”

The Japanese artist on frogs, snow crabs and savoir vivre

Rumi Hara is an illustrator and comic artist living in New York City.  She creates colorful watercolor illustrations with quirky, playful characters for magazines and other publications. She frequently appears in comic arts events with her mini comics and zines for both young and adult readers. In 2015, Rumi received the Silver Medal from the Society of Illustrators in New York.

 Desert Bride by Rumi Hara

Desert Bride by Rumi Hara

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The Power of Photography

Lensational is empowering women in the developing world through photo workshops

Helping to change lives by selling beautiful and innovative pictures, and by giving back to less privileged people around the world – sounds like Photocircle to you? And you’re right, of course. Only, we’re not alone anymore: recently, we came across a fantastic project from Hong Kong, called Lensational. Lensational is a non-profit, social enterprise that wants to empower women in developing countries – both economically and emotionally – by teaching them photography.

When Lensational’s young founder, Bonnie Chiu, traveled to Istanbul, she realized that simply taking photos together with locals often already made their day. Yet, photography is not accessible to most people in the developing world. So she decided to work towards changing this, step by step.

Lensational’s particular interest is in empowering women, who are still economically disadvantaged globally: on average, they only earn one-tenth of the world’s income. Therefore, the organization teaches women practical skills, as well as self-confidence in order to help them make an income. On a bigger scale, Lensational wants to contribute to a change of paradigm – as even today, women are typically in front, rather than behind the camera.

So here’s what they do on the ground: Lensational recycle digital cameras, then resell them to urban poor women in developing countries at a heavily discounted price. Together with the cameras, they gain access to uploading and printing of photographs, as well as after-sale services. The centerpiece – and key to empowerment – however, is photography training for women, together with local NGOs and photographers. Finally, Lensational sell their students’ work through exhibitions, partner agencies and their own online platform – crucial financial support for the women.

If like us, you think this is a great idea, and you’d like to find out more about Lensational, or even support their work – check out their website. Here are some impressions of the fruit of their work.


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Have a spooky Halloween y’all!

Let's make this year's All Hallow's Eve an eerily beautiful one

It’s that time of year again! The days are getting shorter, the autumn air is crisp, leaves are illuminating the streets in bright shades of red, yellow and orange – and tonight, monsters, ghosts, vampires and corpse brides are going to walk the streets in your home town, to scare the living hell out of you! Not a chance, of course, we would miss the opportunity to set the mood for this eerily beautiful event. So here’s our contribution to your Halloween – brought to you by Photocircle’s Web Designer, Carlo. Who, of course, is a photo fanatic, too, so naturally his tale evolves around photography – shocker (no, but: literally).

Herbstwanderung von Thomas Bölke

Herbstwanderung von Thomas Bölke

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Evacuation by Jakob Berr

We all remember the horrible collapse of the eight-story Rana Plaza garment factory building near Dhaka in Bangladesh in April 2013. More than 1.000 people died, over 2.500 were heavily injured and traumatized. The photographer Ismail Ferdous documented the deadly cost of fashion for the New York times. The video is worth watching and even more valuable spreading.

Unfortunately, this hasn’t been the only collapse of a house in the Dhaka area. This photo by our photographer and photo journalist Jakob Berr shows a soldier of the Bangladeshi army evacuating an elderly woman from a building adjacent to a collapsed house in Old Dhaka, Bangladesh. He writes: “With all the buildings in the area standing wall-to-wall, the narrow and tall structures in this historic part of the Bangladeshi capital support each other like cards in a card house, putting the buildings next to the collapsed house in immediate danger of coming down themselves.”

'Soldier evacuating old woman, Bangladesh' by Jakob Berr

‘Soldier evacuating old woman, Bangladesh’ by Jakob Berr