• Andy Whysall

Happy Mums Foundation

This is an interesting development. Again, the old boys and girls network comes into play.


A former work colleague, who came with her family to see the Open Format degree show (and was very complimentary about it, thanks Sarah) messaged to ask if I would consider running a series of workshops for a charity for mums with mental health issues - https://www.happymums.org.uk Do click, it's an amazing little set-up.


They're funded by Comic Relief and for the workshops funding came from MIND after several of the ladies said they would like to be able to take better photographs. One of the complications, is the variety of camera types they have - small compacts, bridge, SLR, phone, and a mixed level lf knowledge but none of them advanced at all. So what I can't do is say 'press this same button', 'turn that same wheel' to all of them, for inevitably there is some necessity for them to be more familiar with camera controls beyond the 'magic' setting. So there is lots of advice aiming them at their camera manuals with the objective of reaching the same destination. I have also been making worksheets on techniques, notably composition, use of depth of field, fast and slow shutter speeds, using metering modes. They don't need to learn it all instantly, just play with settings and menus and gradually absorb one or two useful things as they go along.


There is a lot that could be taught, but we're taking it easy over probably eight sessions, or as far as the funding will stretch. We did two initial workshops where I probably talked too much, but the ladies enjoyed them. At time of writing we're on a break over the school hols, but theys have a little project to bear in mind, the results of which will be shown at the first meeting back in September. I just want them to photograph wherever they have been over the summer (abroad, at home, or the local play park or wherever) and to show us all four images that convey the feel of the place. They will also be bringing back pictures that were less successful and we can talk about how they might have been better...and will be next time.


The reception from the half dozen who have attended so far has been really great with positive feedback to the charity organiser. She's going to try to encourage one or two new starters for September as well. Later in the year we might aim to get a small exhibition onto a wall somewhere. I think that's a good objective.









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