What People Say about Saskia

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Ellen Agler, CEO of The END Fund

Saskia integrates and connects well with the local community, and her photos are stunningly beautiful.  She was able to garner the trust and confidence needed to take the very intimate photos of people suffering from stigmatizing and disabling diseases, while also managing high-level relationships with Ministry of Health staff and village leaders to ensure that everyone understands her role and goals.  
The END Fund has used Saskia’s photos to help raise awareness not only about our work in the DRC, but in our annual report, website and other reports to highlight partners and progress toward controlling and eliminating the five most prevalent NTDs that affect over 1.5 billion people globally. Saskia has been a wonderful partner for the END Fund, and I would highly recommend her as a partner for any high-impact, social change organization.


Rana Dajani PhD, Founder & Director of We Love Reading (NGO)

Her dedication to humanity is tireless.
I have known Saskia for over a year.  She fundraised, organized and planned the whole project. She also dedicated her time and efforts to share the impact of We Love Reading on refugee children, youth, women, and men in Jordan. Her work is of excellent caliber, quality and impact. Saskia has been extremely patient and caring in working with the people she photographed.  Rarely have I worked with anyone who has the level of enthusiasm and commitment as hers. 
She's a photo activist and her images are powerful emotion movers. Trust and dignity are always at the forefront of the way she interacts with her chosen tasks.
Due to her great attitude, dedication and achievements, she would be as great an asset to your team as she has been to mine.

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Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger, Roots Co-Founder & Director of International Relations

It would be an understatement to say that we were pleased with Saskia. She put all of herself into the work, and was always there to do everything we asked – and more - in the best possible fashion and at all hours of the day and night. Her time with us was utilized to the hilt.  She was extremely organized, conscientious and meticulous.
There was nothing more that we could have asked for.
As a photographer, she was considerate and unobtrusive and did nothing that would interfere with our work. She successfully took into account the extreme sensitivity of our endeavors and avoided the many minefields that litter the ground.


Craig Taubman, Founder of the Pico Union Project

The idea was simple.  Take Saskia’s photojournalist project which pairs Palestinian and Israeli women who use the lens of a camera to get to know each other and bring it to the 16 people from diverse cultures and faiths at the Pico Union Project.  Such is life.  You plan. Hope for the best.  Try to anticipate the unexpected, and every once in a while, you are given the most precious of gifts - surprise and wonder.

All of the planning and conversations could never have captured the essence of this truly wonderful artist, and the remarkable way she is able to bring out the humanity of others. 

I could tell you what happened in more detail, but the more exciting truth is that I have no idea what she can do with your group – other than to bring out the best that all of us have to bring and give. The idea is simple.  Partake of the gift, you will be rewarded many times over. 

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Shuli, a student of Saskia's workshop with Roots in the West Bank

Dear Saskia,

I wanted to share with you a meaningful moment I experienced last week, I hope I can express it in English.

We were driving around Tekoa and were stuck behind a slow truck. A Palestinian truck that had a print of a bride: A Palestinian young woman with a big head scarf, of the same sort our friends in the workshop were wearing.  I found myself staring at it (while diving slowly...) with a warm heart and a sense of intimacy.

In that moment I realized how deep and basic it is what you gave us in your workshop: intimacy. 
We didn't talk about deep or highly important subjects, but we looked closely at each other's faces, clothes, and bodies, we became aware of details. This is something I never had the chance to do, nor ever had a thought of the importance of doing it.

Palestinian people are strangers, distant, unfamiliar to me. Even if I don't regard them as enemies anymore, they are still very far. Now I looked at this foreign woman on the picture and felt physically and emotionally close to her because of her big scarf and strong makeup. I subconsciously recognized these as familiar to me. It made me happy and raised my belief that step by step change can happen.

Thank you!

Shuli


Sarah Mandel, a student of Saskia's workshop with Roots in the West Bank

Saskia’s natural warmth and charm made everyone feel comfortable. She brought the group together, taught us how to use the cameras and then encouraged everyone to experiment and explore at their own pace. The sessions were a fantastic opportunity to learn more about photography and to get to know the other women. 

Saskia’s flexibility and enthusiasm kept us all involved, even in the face of some logistical challenges. In a calm, nurturing and safe environment the photography was a basis for an encounter with the Other in the conflict, who we would never otherwise be able to meet. I found it particularly powerful to take photos of the other women, as when you set up a photograph in your camera lens, you examine and consider the subject in a totally different way than when you are just looking at them. I would highly recommend Saskia’s workshop to anyone and look forward to her return so that more women can benefit from them.

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Colleen Dodson Baker, a student of Saskia's workshop with Pico Union Project in Los Angeles

The way Saskia merges the art of photography with the necessity of embracing others is seamless.  By the end of the first session, she had developed a specific connection with each student, which grew deeper throughout the week, inspiring and motivating us all, individually and as a group.

The “With New Eyes” workshop was beautifully orchestrated.  Each session built on the one before, with challenges and surprises along the way. It was a Master Class in staying focused, being present, trusting creativity, taking risks and loving one another. I’m forever grateful that I was part of it and that my life has crossed paths with Saskia. 


Rasheea Williams, a student of Saskia's workshop with Pico Union Project in Los Angeles

When we started this photography class, we did not know each other.

Over the four sessions, we learned what made each of us tick and formed some bonds.

By sharing our stories, we also learned that all of us, Jewish, Protestants, different racial and cultural backgrounds, have more in common than we may think.

We share the same concerns about our families and our places in the world. We have all suffered some traumas. The first step of opening up to strangers and allowing yourself to be vulnerable is the most important.

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Claire German, a student of Saskia's workshop with Pico Union Project in Los Angeles

When Nat reached out to me about participating in the Pico Union Project’s “With New Eyes” workshop, my immediate reaction was not terribly positive. I’d never heard of the Pico Union Project, I was very busy with other school activities, and I kind of liked my old eyes just fine. But I do have a profound interest in photography, and couldn’t resist the opportunity to explore it through a whole other lens – so to speak.

For those of you who don’t know, the Pico Union project is a multi-faith cultural arts center and house of worship located in Downtown Los Angeles. The “With New Eyes” project was led by Saskia Keeley, a renowned photographer who has worked with humanitarian organizations all over the world, and was designed to explore the building of community through the photographs that we take. “Building community” isn’t usually the outward motivation for taking a photograph – at least for me - but it opened up so many possibilities I had never considered before. When “love your neighbor as yourself” is a guiding principle, your vision as an artist is opened in a way that I found very satisfying.

It is such a privilege to be part of a community that seeks to lift you up in any way possible. That is the All Saints’ I love.