After getting my results in May I didn’t know what to do with myself. I’d hoped to get a better grade that I did and whilst it wasn’t that far off I kept questioning if I could have done anything better.
This led to me not picking up my camera and not having the motivation to make any new work.
Then I had the Graduation Day which was incredibly emotional, and I was incredibly proud to have even gotten this far, but somehow I still felt like I didn’t belong, I had a serious case of imposter syndrome. That everyone else that was on the course with me somehow had more right to be there than I did as they got a better grade than I had.
The fact that I had gotten a new job on the back of gaining my Masters, which in fact does have the need for photography and also videography and retouching and editing would be a very important part of my role – I still don’t think it made me feel any less of a fake.
So I decided to go back to basics, I started completing the camera school tasks in the monthly magazine I get, but in an even bigger statement I decided to go back to basics and go back to BTEC HNC Photography and relearn my craft.
I still have the desire to apply for PhD to investigate the links between mental health and creative outlets such as photography. I feel like this is something that I really need to explore further.
I guess we are now at the time of the course to reflect upon how far I have come as a practitioner. Whilst it feels like the time has flown, it has not been without the peaks and troughs I described in my FMP.
I couldn’t have imagined when I got accepted onto the course that I would have created the type of FMP that I did. My projects up until FMP were with images of somethings, that I had made become something and it wasn’t until FMP that my work truly became about something, and to me it was a very import something at that.
Since my injury and subsequent Rheumatoid Arthritis diagnosis, mental and physical health has become very important to me, and I think that once I found the strength to talk about it really drove me to do something which could potentially help others.
This is the type of work I want to carry on with. Whilst I know I am not the best academic writer when it comes to this level of study, I have been in touch with the University of Sunderland about their PhD programme in photography and am busy starting to put together a proposal for exploring photography as a therapy.
I have also looked into Art Therapy and other Medical photography careers, which could be routes that I can explore further.
This course has led me to want to help others, who might be struggling to feel better, to use it as a complimentary therapy alongside more traditional methods, this is a huge step from when I started the course and just wanted to take visually pleasing images.
So thank you Falmouth for showing me the way, for showing me what is possible and letting me see that if I work hard enough nothing is out of my reach.
As part of the final outcome of the FMP along with the Pop up Exhibition I also wanted to share the techniques that I had learnt with others.
I had a group of 4 participants and I taught them the techniques of Stop Look Breathe Create – which were steps I learnt from the book of the same title by Wendy Ann Greenhalgh.
These were steps that were really beneficial and I used in the capturing of the images for the project.
I set out three tasks that I thought would really help to notice things that they had never noticed before in a location that I knew each of the participants would have been to on many occasions.
The first Activity was just to notice how the world felt to the body by thinking about how the ground felt beneath their feet and this prompted them to take photographs of the ground.
Another was to find colour – this was a very successful activity and where objects that they never noticed before really came to the forefront.
The final activity was to write a word in the sand that made them feel negatively – we then watched the waves wash away that word. This made everyone feel reflective about their experience.
The overwhelming reaction was that after the workshop everyone felt a little more relaxed than they had when they joined the workshop and it gave them something that they could do when time were getting a little tough – this meant that each of them left with a little but more of an idea of a coping strategy that could be employed to improve mental health and this was the goal – which I feel I achieved.