Janette, NIVSO’s Communications Officer, visited Belfast Exposed today to learn more about its Veterans’ Camera Club.
Each week a group of like-minded Veterans come together to develop their photography skills and explore the streets of Belfast through a different lens.
The group is given a theme to focus their work on each week, and today the theme was Green. Be it shopfronts, signs, buildings or buses, everything is open to individual interpretation.
Mervyn, the Community Engagement Manager at Belfast Exposed, facilitates the Camera Club. He explained that photography can be used as a tool for Veterans to look at things differently, and give new meaning to places that may have once been unsafe.
One member of the group described the Camera Club as “more like a fellowship than a photography club,” while another said, “this has become a really big part of my life.”
The walk and talk nature of the Camera Club makes it easier for the Veterans to share their own experiences. Walking the streets and noticing things together, the light on a window here, the focus on an object there, everyone commented on how much the city has changed over the years.
For some of the Veterans, the Camera Club has introduced them back into Belfast for the first time in many years. The weekly session provides positive interactions with people and places, helping them to overcome anxieties caused by the past.
After taking some photos, the group heads back to the gallery to look at and discuss their work. Everyone has managed to capture something different, with a unique interpretation on the Green theme for this week. A shared passion for photography is clear among the group, with subjects, lighting, composition and editing all discussed with real interest when looking at the photos.
This summer, Belfast Exposed will host an exhibition to showcase the Veterans’ photography. For many Camera Club participants, seeing their work hanging in the gallery as part of this exhibition will be life-affirming.
For more information on the Camera Club, you can contact our Positive Pathways Navigator, Dennis: firstname.lastname@example.org