San Pedro photographer Karen Brodie says she is humbled and honored to have been given the task to photograph a broad spectrum of women in the community of Ambergris Caye, 62 of which have been set on exhibit at the San Pedro House of Culture in celebration of International Women’s Month.
On Thursday, March 10, 2016, the House of Culture held an official ceremony to open the photographic exhibit that is now available for public viewing throughout the month.
Karen Brodie has taken a lot of pictures in the past two and a half years that she has been living on the island. She is an excellent portrait photographer, capturing special moments that come to life in the facial expressions of her subjects. The 62 portraits that Karen chose to display are only a cross section of strong women who make up the island community. Karen says that taking the pictures were easy, it was choosing which ones to exhibit that was the toughest part.
“I marvel at the strength of the women in this community, whether young or old,” stated Karen at the opening of the exhibit. “There is a bond between all of us, we all suffered to achieve, we overcome hardships, there are so many inspirational women in the community. It has been a privilege to meet them. We raise our glasses tonight and give a round of applause to all women in the community, not just the ones who I have featured in the exhibit.”
From Karen Brodie:
“Thank you for coming to view this collection of my photographs. I am honored and grateful to Mito Paz, NICH, and the House of Culture for asking me to share some moments from behind the lens celebrating some of the women of San Pedro. I didn’t set out intentionally to make this collection and many are missing from the collection I would like to create. If you don’t see someone in the collection you feel should be celebrated, it is simply because I have yet to photograph them or I have not created a photograph of them that I believe is worthy of display. Hopefully over the coming year, and in time for the next celebration of women in the community, I can rectify that.
During my lifetime, I have faced and overcome many challenges, the least of which was leaving home before I was sixteen. I recognize that I have probably always been fiercely independent, maybe a little too independent, even now. It’s not easy for me to ask for help or accept the kindness of friends, acquaintances and strangers in either joyful or difficult times.
Prior to being a professional photographer, I spent 30+ years in the computer technology field, a profession that was, and remains, dominated by men. I will never forget the first technology conference I attended as an entrepreneur in the early 90s. I was the only woman in attendance with 200 men. It had never occurred to me that this would be the case. I still wonder if I would have chosen to go had I realized or thought about the possibility. At first I was shocked, intimidated and fearful. I wanted to hide in my hotel room for the duration of the conference, but after a few deep breaths, I put on my big girl panties and set out on a mission as the only woman business owner in the group. Needless to say, I was the one person at the conference who didn’t need a name tag within the first hour!
If I could give my much younger self some advice and nurturing, here is what it would be, in no particular order:
- Be kinder and gentler to yourself.
- Laugh more.
- BELIEVE in yourself.
- Remember, YOU are ENOUGH!
- Remember YOU are loveable and worthwhile.
- Dream BIG!!!
- Stay curious.
- Some things cannot be fixed.
- Worry less.
- You are stronger and braver than you think.
- Set firm boundaries for/or eliminate the crazy-making/negative people in your life. You get to set the rules!
It’s the same advice I give myself today. Thanks again for joining us in celebrating all women in San Pedro and the contributions they make to the community and their families."
There are very few photographs of me as I am always more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it. This is my mother-in-law, May Lowe, and me, a photo she let me take of us together on her 91st birthday, the year I made the decision to move to Belize. I am so grateful to have had her in my life. She has been a strong influence for me over the years and was everything that my own mother was not: supportive, kind, nurturing, accepting, emotionally independent, down-to-earth and loving.
Mrs. Helen Haylock
Miss San Pedro Carnaval 2016 Melida Pereira
Mrs. Leonora Trejo
Fatima Graniel proud of her portrait alongside her mother Marina Graniel
Past San Pedro Mayor, Elsa Paz admires the exhibit and takes a closer look at her picture profile
Miss San Pedro 2014 Michelle Nuñez and Miss Garifuna Tisane Martinez Miss San Pedro Garifuna