Ryan Bramley: Photography for wellbeing


This story describes my first trip to Graves Park , on a muggy day in March, for the CAST Photography for Wellbeing workshop led by Phil Metcalfe.

Getting flustered about the realisation that I’d left my “proper” camera at home on the way to St Mary’s Community Centre almost stopped me from meeting the CAST Photography for Wellbeing team at all, on that typically topsy-turvy Tuesday afternoon. And yet, if there’s one thing I learnt from that camera-less day, it’s that photography is far much more than ISO numbers and DSLRs (“it’s fine – I don’t understand them either!”)

If I was to describe my own photography in three words, I’d probably use “point and shoot”. I never go out to a place just to take photos, but if I see a landscape view I like the look of, you can almost guarantee I’ll probably snap it. I guess that’s fine. But that’s probably also the reason why I wouldn’t have classed myself as a photographer, until my session with CAST.

Each week, the CAST group picks a new location around the city to explore, taking photos as they go. There was a real variety of equipment and experience at play here. There were camera pros with long-focus lens; others with more leisurely compact cameras; and – I’m happy to say – I wasn’t the only one using the camera on their mobile phone! Infact, I’m quite pleased of the photos I managed to get…

Despite such diversity, the main thing holding the group together was the very same reason they all came: simply put, photography makes them feel good. And – to embrace their enthusiasm and their friendliness – it sure made me feel good, too!

The CAST Photography for Wellbeing Group meets weekly on Tuesdays at St Mary’s Community Centre at 1pm, before heading out to their pre-determined destination – either via foot or public transport (i.e. bus). Whilst they are usually three hours long (and sometimes longer in the summer months), trips are relatively laidback, with a stay-as-you-please policy.

Find out more or get involved on CAST’s page.

December 2018 update: the photography group is not currently running.

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