As part of our on-going relationship with Cohen Lodge to engage the local older residents in creativity, as a means of improving their wellbeing, we teamed up with PhotoVoice, to provide a programme designed to help those who took part express their identities. PhotoVoice is an organisation that uses photography as a participatory process, with techniques which help participants tell their own story using a camera.
In Workshop 1, participants were given cameras, which for many, was the first time, in a long time that they had held a camera. As a way of easing the pressure, we provided prompts that helped the participants get passed the initial phase of worrying what to photograph. Prompts ranged from photographing things which were specific colour, such as green, to finding things of a specific shape, such as circular. It was a great opportunity for the residents to investigate the place they lived everyday, looking in more detail at what objects and features they were surrounded by.
With a newfound comfortableness with the cameras, week 2 saw the residents venture out of Cohen Lodge into Hackney. This was an important moments, as we aimed to foster a confidence in the participants to re-engage with the wider area they live. This both improves the likelihood they engage in external services, that could beneficial to them, but also forges better social cohesion in the Borough of Hackney. Back at Cohen Lodge we also looked at a mass of pre-existing photography. This helped the participants form a critical eye, shaping their own opinion of what they thought made a successful image and how they could carry this into their own image making. In week 3, the participants continued to take photos before entering an editing phases, where they decided which were their best images and in turn the ones they wanted to print. This process also gave the opportunity to caption their photos, something the participants learnt could add a new layer of understanding or mystery.