For the past few weeks I have been volunteering at St. Luke’s Clifford House in their Photography workshop. Here I support the artist in teaching those who attend the class. Each one of these people have an illness without a cure (or are there supporting someone who does), and come to Clifford House to relax, take part in creative activities, and meet people on similar journeys – it is essential for me and Laura to provide these lovely people with the best experience possible. Helping out at Clifford House is exciting itself, there’s always so much going on there and everyone wears a smile. To be honest, in terms of photography knowledge, I have none, the people attending the workshop (embarrassingly) know a lot more than me, so not only am I learning from Laura alongside them, I’m learning from each one of them too! Each participant has a passion for photography and bring in their own cameras despite them being provided, they all listen intensively and try their best to take everything in and put it into practice.
In order to be comfortable and confident with their cameras again, we started with keeping the cameras on automatic and set the participants off on a photo treasure hunt around the grounds of Clifford House, which actually has turned out to be a great place to take interesting photos. The second session was when things really began to take off, we learnt about how to use the camera manually; applying focus, lighting, shutter speed and aperture. Each week is something new, one week I had to be the model for ‘portraits’ and the next I was going around the grounds searching for leaves to use a micro lens on – it’s never a boring day in Photography.
The people who attend the classes are all extremely interesting, sharing personal stories and anecdotes about all sorts. This social aspect of the course has benefited me in regards to listening and learning about the world through new perspectives, just as it has benefited those who attend, by being around other people in a similar situation with a common interest a sense of community has been developed. At the end of each session we look at the photos taken during the workshop, some members of the group even bring in their own photos from home to show to the rest of the group, everyone is genuinely supportive which is really uplifting to see. Due to the relaxed yet focused attitude the workshop has, it’s been rewarding for both myself and those attending as not only have we learnt new skills, but we have done it in great company too. Everyone agreed that taking photos has caused us to view the world differently, seeing patterns and wonder in everything around us, which I think is an overall magical ability to have acquired