Portrait Session with Mariella

Mariella is the president of the BPW (Valletta)

These are such beautiful portraits of Mariella, I absolutely love them. Mariella is one of the amazing women I photographed, she is a women’s right advocate.

The first time I met Mariella was in a networking event. She was presenting BPW and gave a workshop at the event which I joined. The workshop was about public speaking, Mariella and Stephanie made the workshop absolutely fun and enjoyable, many of us were very empowered.

Mariella is such a warm and kind hearted person, always makes people feel welcomed at BPW’s events. I was immediately drawn to her and her dedication to women’s right. I absolutely love working with women who are witty and knowledgeable, I would love to photograph her so I invited Mariella to my studio for a photo session. It was months later she decided to take the challenge. I am glad she did, we created so many beautiful portraits that I absolutely love.

Artist Portraits for Art Exhibition Incontri

It was real fun to photograph four artists and all of them utilize different media to express their art. I think artists are the most playful, they were like children in my studio. I photograph babies and young children and babies every week, so I’m well trained.

I often get the compliments, “Amanda, you are very patient.” Yes, I am and I think playing is a way of life, the way we learn new things, the way we live, laugh and have fun.

Here are some “Behind the Scene” photos when we were having the photo shoot.


Getting their makeup done.


They were curious about how makeup artist Martina and I work together. We were adjusting the makeup 🙂


When I photograph another photographer, I often got photos taken also. XD That was Enzo photographing me.


Discussions with Enzo about photography while shooting.


The artists managed to find toys in my studio to play with while I was shooting. They were just like children, very playful and fun to be with.


Photographing Josette, this was the second time I photographed her. She is beautiful as usual. And the guys managed to make her smile all the time.

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Shooting and giving instructions for posing.

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Thanks Enzo for the lovely photos of me shooting.


Discussing ideas with Josette and Samuele.


It was a pleasure to photograph artists. These four artists each everyone has their own unique work.

Josette Fenech_Amanda_Hsu_5545

Josette Fenech, a Maltese abstract painter, her main media are acrylic and canvas.

Enzo Giummarra_Amanda_Hsu_5161

Enzo Giummarra, a Sicilian photographer, using shadows as his main subject in this exhibition.

Samuele Ventanni_Amanda_Hsu_5206

Samuele Ventanni, an Italian artist, work on different fabric media.

Emanuele Ventanni_Amanda_Hsu_5320

Emanuele Ventanni, an Italian artist, painting on wood.

Josette Fenech_Amanda_Hsu_5421 Enzo Giummarra_Amanda_Hsu_5080 Samuele Ventanni_Amanda_Hsu_5222 Emanuele Ventanni_Amanda_Hsu_5291

Incontri_Amanda_Hsu_5589 Incontri_Amanda_Hsu_5641

The four artists’ exhibition, ‘INCONTRI’ is an art exhibition that brings together four unique artistic expressions. It is also a meeting point for local and foreign artists, where art meets science. This Art Exhibition is in collaboration with RIDT in aid of Brain Research, a charity exhibition.

The exhibition in University of Malta Research Trust, Valletta, from 9 April to 22 April.

Exhibition: Women in Malta – Maria Pisani

Locations: Malta Chamber of Commerce

Maria Pisani – Academic and activist

Maria is that kind of woman who talk softly but words are strong and powerful. She believes in what she believes firmly. When she talked about the NGO she is running and the situation with refugee, she talks a like a good politician while she is not in any political party.
“I almost feel guilty when I don’t read news for a day.” She said it was once she was on holiday. I find this is quite a cute and funny statement.
I admire her spirit to fight for human right, especially for the people who are powerless to fight for their rights.

Q& A
1)When you feel down, what you usually do to make

yourself feel better? How do you deal with stress?

I escape – generally speaking I just need some time on my own, quiet time, an hour or so, to get my head in a good space. I have learnt that it’s ok to switch off from the world and just disappear, some time out, again, just for an hour or so, but I need it, and today I don’t feel guilty for taking it.

2)What you enjoy the most about your work?

I am an academic and also run an NGO, my activism informs my academ- ic work and my academic work informs my practice. Both give me satis- faction. I enjoy learning, sharing and developing knowledge; being a part of a dedicated and like-minded team. Perhaps ‘enjoy’ is the wrong word, I take some comfort in the knowledge that I am not ignoring social injus- tices – and perhaps our work can make a tiny difference to the lives of a few individuals who face injustice on a daily basis.

3)Have you been professionally photographed before?

How did you feel? (Before the shoot with Amanda)

This was the first time I got ‘’made up’ for a photo-shoot, actually, this was the first time I was ‘made-up’’, it’s not really my thing, so I was not looking forward to the make-up and hairdresser, and was convinced I would end up looking and feeling like a trussed up turkey – I don’t like dressing up – I like my jeans. So on the day I was having second thoughts. But I met Amanda and the girls, and decided to embrace the moment and go with it… and it was fun!

4)If you knew then what you know now, what would you tell your 18-year-old self?

Take time to breathe. It’s okay to be you, don’t be scared to do things your way. In life we make mistakes, learn from them and take another leap. Love and be open to love.

5)When things get tough, how do you keep your- self going?

Time out. Cry on a couple of special shoulders. Then keep on going.

6) How do you define success?

My thoughts on success have changed a lot over the years. For me ‘success’ is not about what a person has achieved per se, or the work they are doing. Today I would define success as the ability to learn from mistakes, being okay with whatever decisions and sometimes difficult choices we have to make. For me ‘success’ is not about what a person has achieved per se, or the work they are doing. Success is more a state of mind, its about being at peace with yourself and your loved ones.


Dr. Maria Pisani holds a BA and MA in Youth & Community Studies, and a PhD in Adult Education from the University of Malta. She previously held the post of Head of Office (Malta) for the International Organization for Migration (IOM). During this time she was responsible for a number of key projects related to refugee resettlement, AVR, and human trafficking, amongst others.

Maria is also a practitioner and an activist, and the co-founder and director of Integra Foundation. Her ongoing involvement in the field provides an opportunity to keep the dialectic relationship between theory and practice alive, providing the space for critical knowledge production towards social transformation.

Maria has published in international journals and contributed to a number of edited books and has been appointed as key expert in a number of inter/national research studies. She is also Editorial Board Member on the international journal Disability and the Global South (www.dgsjournal.org) and Guest Editor for the special issue, ‘Disability, Asylum and Migration’ for Disability and the Global South.

Her research interests include forced migration with a special focus on gendered migration; youth studies; critical pedagogy, political mobilization and social transformation; exploring the citizenship assumption within Western epistemologies, policy development and practice; the deconstruction of Western and other dominant epistemologies and practice: engaging praxis as a project of transformation; social injustice and the intersectionality of inter alia race/ethnicity, gender, age, legal status, disability; applying post and neo-colonial theories to the study of (forced) migration, critical pedagogy and social justice issues.

Links about her:



Women in Malta 2015 Project log page

Exhibition Project – Women in Malta

This exhibition project “Women in Malta”, dedicated to my dearest friends, family and all the women in Malta. I am inviting 20 amazing women who are over 40 and living in Malta to join this project. This project  is to raise awareness of women’s influence in Malta.

Every woman has her own stories to tell. I hope to through the portraits exhibition and the stories of the women will help to encourage, inspire people and encourage people to employ and promote more women in life.

Sponsorships are very welcome to support and finance this project. The portraits will be exhibited on Women’s Day which is 8th March in 2015 in Valletta.

Amanda Hsu


Updates and log about this exhibition project will be on this page:

Women in Malta 2015 – Portrait Exhibition Project

Stay tuned!

Portrait ideas – Free Posing

Free posing is one of the difficult things to do in front of camera.

Most of my clients are not professional models, usually I give a lot of instructions to help them to pose. Where to put the hands, the way they look, chin, neck and shoulder, I pose them to the most flattering position to compliment their features. Of course, I use posing and lighting to thin them down and to create the most attractive shape of their body.

But it’s a wonderful feeling to have free posing images. It’s natural, casual and fun.

So normally I use the dancing method, I ask them to dance in front of camera. And the dance I teach them to do is super simple, basically I just ask them to swing, swing to the left and swing to the right.

The way I dance here is a bit more like free style dance. I love dancing and I love to see the movement in the images, freeze the beautiful moments.

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Behind the scene.

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