As an occupational Therapist and Photographer I have worked with children, young people and adults, in mental health settings, for 19 years.
During this time I have become increasingly aware of how difficult it can be for people to talk about their mental health and also for other people to listen and understand. Through research for my dissertation "The relationship between creativity and the expression of traumatic memories" my thoughts around this were reinforced and I became aware that imagery can be more beneficial as a vehicle for expressing thoughts than words. It can also be a way in which people are more able to relate. The Image is a very powerful medium.
With the increase in photography on social media the risks that this involves has also increased. This is not only from people who want to harm children but also from comments and "shares" within a young persons peer group.
My aim for the project would be to provide young people with information about how their images might be shared and what messages these images give to other people. Often not the message that we are wishing to portray when the image is taken.
I would also like them to consider why we share so much on social media and to think about how people use this platform to boost their own self-confidence when there are other ways in which this should be done.
We will also think about the messages they want to share about themselves and their identity and their own lifestory. Often a picture of a person smiling can mask alot of background experiences of that person.
The aims of the group will be to help the young people improve their confidence without the need of social media. Create a supportive, therapeutic group environment for them to share their experiences. To help them feel more confident about their own identity and lifestory in a way which others are not able to hurt them through malicious comments. For the young people to find a way of using photography in a more functional and less risky manner.
I would aim to use disposable film cameras to prevent images being shared immediately to social media and once these have been developed I would see the young people create an exhibition of their work to further increase confidence and share the message to other people