Experiencing life through a new lens

Man holding camera standing in front of promotional banners featuring nature photographs
SRT staff member Philip Turner with the new Mental Health Service banners which feature images taken by his photography group
October 9, 2018

Finding beauty in the little things has had a healing effect for participants of a group photography program run by the Rockingham Peel Group Mental Health Service.

Krystal, Rachel* and Michelle* joins  staff member Philip Turner each Thursday for a  photography session including a social coffee break on location anywhere from the Mandurah estuary to Kings Park.

Krystal said the experience had given her a new-found appreciation for nature and an opportunity to step outside of her own world.

“Photography makes you take a closer look at your surroundings and express it in a way that is unique to you,” Krystal said.

“When you are looking through the lens, really focusing on your subject, nothing else matters in that moment.

“We all look forward to the group each week. It has reminded us that life can still have its enjoyable moments, even while living with a mental illness.”

A growing body of evidence supports the use of safe and nurturing environments as having a direct effect on a person’s ability to learn, enabling them to uptake new skills and abilities.

Including the photography program, the Specialist Rehabilitation Team (SRT) runs several group programs with a focus on creating calm environments for participants to develop practical skills and build confidence which can translate to their everyday lives.

Philip believes the photography program provides many benefits.

“The group setting allows them to socialise and get out of the house to explore new places and learn new things together,” Philip said.

“Photography in itself is a very powerful tool. You have to go looking for your subject; it doesn’t come to you – much like all the best things in life.

“Editing the images also provides an opportunity for reflection and builds computer and editing skills.”

Photos taken by the group around the Rockingham and Peel area were recently used in a series of banners to promote the Rockingham Peel Group Mental Health Service.