At the end of July the Sheffield centre was fully booked with people coming from all over to take part in photography week. We caught up with blind veteran Keith Harness to find out how the week went and to see some of the pictures taken!
“A picture is the expression of an impression. If the beautiful were not in us, how would we ever recognize it?”
The Sheffield summer photography week took place from the 28th July to the 1st August and saw blind veterans of varying photographic levels from beginner to professional come together – some for the first time – each expressing and sharing their passion in photography.
Everyone arrived on Monday, enthusiastic and keen to begin the week’s activities. Following lunch we started the week with a group discussion, led by Kate Taylor a Rehabilitation Officer for the Visually Impaired (ROVI) who talked to the group about a number of visual aids currently available that members could use when taking part in their photography activities.
Throughout the week the group were given a range of opportunities to improve their photography including an IT based discussion led by David Tatlowan IT instructor at the Sheffield centre. He taught various methods of transferring images between a camera and computer, labelling and storing these files, different methods of sharing image files and how to upload onto social media sites. Many attendee’s found this really useful and chose to have a one to one session afterwards with David to look into each of these areas in more detail and assess help they may need in the future.
The first field trip of the week to Sheffield city centre. We explored the Winter gardens with its array of tropical plants, small galleries, with an abundance of sculptures and paintings on display, cafes and shops. These offered a wide range of images the group could capture. We also discovered the Peace Gardens with its small summer fair to the bus/ train stations, taking in along the route a number of architecturally interesting buildings on the way including the city hall, with its clock tower and vast open staircase. Offering the group not only the opportunity to capture images of Sheffield’s architecture but also the chance to take part in street photography capturing images of people relaxing in cafes, or going about their everyday lives.
For the next photo op, we went onto the train station capturing images of the wall of steel – a tribute to Sheffield’s steel industry of past with the metal representing the steel and the water following over the surface the cooling systems. Offering the group the chance to capture different effects, with water moving over the sculptures surface and the many reflections found within its surface of the neighbouring buildings and passers-by.
The group, back at the Centre, took on posing for portraiture and the various ways you can ask a person to stand/sit when capturing their portrait, the various lighting techniques, tethered shooting, using a camera’s built in self-timer. Then we began capturing images of each other using a studio set up indoors. We also had a brilliant model for the group and everyone produced some great images.
We had a brief set by the Sheffield Centre Manager, Terry called “Life in the Sheffield centre”, and the group shot both the architectural details, staff going about their everyday duties and members socializing in the evening.
By Thursday morning everyone showed huge improvements and a high level of development so we explored a new subject – capturing close up images of varying floral displays and a number of still life items against different back grounds. All before setting out on the second field trip of the week to the Botanical Gardens with its vibrant flower beds, Victorian greenhouse and vast open grassed areas the group were able to on to capture images not only of the many tropical plants but also the vast trees which line the various walkways throughout the park.
The highlight of the week had to be the display of wild birds, by ‘Hawks of Steele’ which included a number of different owls and hawks. It started with each bird being introduced to the group and then we were able to hold the different birds of prey whilst having the photo taken, before the display turned to the birds of prey flying away and back to the glove. During which those members were able to capture a wide range of images of with the birds sat on their perch, on the glove and in flight. Each presenting a different challenge to the group!
Friday saw the week draw to a close, but started with members viewing each other’s images or having an audio description, discussing these and choosing their favourite images from the week.
All of the participants of the week were keen to continue at home what they’d learnt throughout the week. It was also a fantastic for the veterans to meet new friends and many who attended are going to keep in contact to keep learning and sharing tips from each other.
Our thanks go to Esther Freeman (Member Activities Manager) for organising this event, to all of the staff members and volunteers who helped the group throughout the week.
If you would like to find out about other events happening at our centres, please visit the events calendar on our website.