Council Creative Arts Photography Event a Success
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council’s District Electoral Area’s (DEA’s) recently developed a creative arts photography project to help residents in isolation and who may be suffering emotional anguish as a result of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.
The project brought people together from different isolated cultural backgrounds in a shared, safe environment to promote understanding and acceptance and develop their photography skills. A total of 42 people from the seven DEA’s participated in the creative arts photography programme which was conducted virtually via Zoom and facilitated by Raphael Mason and Philip Kelly, both professional and award-winning photographers.
Over a four week period, during the months of November 2020 to January 2021, participants in each of the seven DEA’s met on a weekly basis via Zoom to discuss lighting, backgrounds and techniques to help them increase their knowledge and confidence in producing improved quality photographs and engage with each other in a social environment. Where permitted within COVID-19 regulations, a location shoot took place where participants met socially distanced and shared their experience of participating in the project and had the opportunity to take photographs on the day; the results of which will feature in an exhibition of their work.
Due to COVID-19 Regulations an exhibition of the photographs produced during the project was held virtually via Zoom to allow participants to view the work of other groups and to connect in a social setting. Feedback from the programme has been overwhelmingly positive with praise being lavished on the facilitators for their professionalism, knowledge and ability to inspire participants to continue their photography journey.
Commenting on the project Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson Councillor Laura Devlin said, “This was an exciting programme which allowed people suffering from social and/or rural isolation to come together to meet likeminded individuals and enhance their photography skills. During the pandemic people have been increasingly walking outdoors for exercise and following this excellent course participants are now equipped with the necessary skills to take high quality images whilst out and about and provide them with a new hobby. Projects such as this combat the physical and mental health problems associated with the pandemic by bring participants from different communities and cultures to come together in a social setting and judging by the quality of photographs produced the initiative was a great success.”