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Learning to Look: photography

img_2582A couple of months ago I took part in a Street Wisdom session in Manchester. We spent the afternoon with David Pearl, the creator of the concept. It was a fabulous afternoon where I met new people who I have continued to have coffee conversations with, and also learnt to look at the city around me in a new way. I took a couple of photos that afternoon with my phone, but generally resisted the temptation as I didn’t want to be distracted by the camera.

img_2474More recently, the team I work with in the NHS in England did a workshop with a professional photographer (Ginny Koppenhol) to improve our photo taking skills, especially with the smart phones in our pockets. Unfortunately I missed the workshop because I was double-booked that day. The team learnt a lot of new skills, particularly emphasising the importance of telling a story with our photos. They also learnt how to use apps such as Snapseed to apply filters, text and effects. I acquired these skills secondhand the next day!

img_2424One member of the team (thanks Jo!) suggested that we do a 365 day challenge to post a photo every day to a Google Plus page which we have set up. We are just under a month into the challenge and so far it has been really inspiring. Each day, looking for photos, the world around me turns into stories to tell or things that I want to highlight. It’s a great way to sharpen the senses. And it is also a brilliant way to pull together a catalogue of stories about a year in our lives.

img_2583I began my career way back in the early 1980s as a Community Artist teaching skills in photography and creative writing when cameras were a closed box with film in them and I had to learn how to develop film to get a result. Often what we produced was a poor version of what I had seen at the time. Having a smart phone in my pocket and a few skills in manipulating images means that I can create the most amazing documentary of what I see. But more important than this, I also have the challenge to look for stories, to see things that would otherwise pass me by.

Together with the exercises in Street Wisdom I feel that I have had my senses sharpened, my imagination enhanced and been given a daily piece of fun to enhance my day.

(November Challenge 10/31)


Also published on Medium.