Open Aye for Glendale Women’s Café, 2020


Open Aye partnered with the Glendale Women’s Café to run six digital zoom sessions for a series of online participatory photography workshops.

The self-titled “Shining Light Photo Group” Winter Lockdown Photo Project set out to provide a platform for exchange, learning, development and support.

Together we learned about photography, considered how we can get through the tougher times of lockdown, and checked in with each other as a group, to help and listen, providing inspiration and motivation for activities that helped to keep us going.

The sessions began with an inspirational video documenting a beautiful aspect of life such as flowers or animals, inviting us into the escapism of the session. After this, we looked at photographs relating to our chosen theme for the week, some of which included documentary, still life and portraiture. Participants would then take part in a photography activity where they would take photographs of things relating to the chosen theme before sharing them with the group. In addition to photography genres, we also looked at top tips such as lighting, framing, composition and content.

The group also discussed helpful techniques to improve wellbeing, such as the NEF 5 Ways to Wellbeing and Mindapples, as well as completing several captioning exercises leading from discussions on coping mechanisms and experiences.

As an output, we created an exhibition of the participants’ favourite images which were accompanied by a selection of quotes and inspirational thoughts from the group.

This project gave the participants a digital hub that allowed the women to come together, meet, share stories and ideas, get creative and consider documenting their time during Lockdown. Open Aye created a project that was enjoyable, informative and energising, with the sessions becoming a welcome distraction for many during Covid-19.

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