Photography workshops for people in recovery launched in Bristol

Photography workshops for people in recovery launched in Bristol

Carys Nally,BBC News, West of England

Real Photography Company  Real Photography Company workshop attendees in the dark roomReal Photography Company

The Real Photography Company (RPC) will be running photography workshops for people in drugs and alcohol recovery from until mid-July

A refugee who attended a Bristol-based creative community workshop said it made him “feel less alone”.

Nabil Amini, a refugee from Afghanistan, said that free workshops run by the Real Photography company helped him feel less isolated when he arrived in Bristol in 2015.

The Real Photography Company (RPC) will be running six new experimental photography workshops for people in drugs and alcohol recovery from 29 May to mid-July.

Company co-founder Ruth Jacobs said they want to continue to support unrepresented people society “that don’t have access to these facilities.”

Real Photography Company  Image of Nabil AminiReal Photography Company

Nabil Amini pictured as part of his work in an RPC workshop

Founded in 2017, RPC started running community projects the same year with some in conjunction with the Developing Health and Independence (DHI) Bristol-based charity.

Mr Amini, an Afghan interpreter in Bristol, said going to the workshop when arriving in the city in 2015 was “amazing”.

He was volunteering at Bristol Refugees when they told him about the community project and he decided to give it a go.

“I am here with my family but I wanted to find friends and it was great talking with different people from different cultures”, he said. “It made me feel really light.”

Mr Amini now exhibits his art and photography around Bristol.

He added: “Life is difficult for everyone these days and these kind of things make people very happy.

“People need something like that.”

Real Photography Company A RPC workshop cohort showing their workReal Photography Company

Nabil Amini (front, third from the left) said that free workshops run by the Real Photography company made him “feel less alone”

A volunteer at various workshops, Phil, said getting involved in the RPC community projects was a large part of his own drug and alcohol recovery.

He now works in drug and alcohol services in Bristol and encourages others to seek out the workshops to improve their mental health and provide a healthy focus.

“It’s a mindfulness thing, it really blocks out other stuff as when you’re in the midst of making prints you’ve got to be focused”, Phil said.

Phil says he thinks about photography all the time.

He said: “It totally influences the way I see the world and it makes me observe more and force me to me in touch with my surroundings.

“People walk through the centre of Bristol and don’t take their mind off human level, but with a camera you look up and see the sky.”

Real Photography Company  People using a photography darkroomReal Photography Company

The workshops offer a social interaction learning environment in a chemical darkroom

The project this May has been funded by the Care Forum with ten spaces that will work on a first come first serve basis.

The workshops will cover, Pinhole photography, Cyanotypes, photogrammes, lumen printing, watergrammes, turmeric photography and offer a social interaction learning environment in a chemical darkroom.

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