A UNIQUE exhibition from young photographers will be on display in County Hall next month with the official launch taking place on Thursday December 6 at 5pm. Local musician James O’ Connor will be on hand to launch the exhibition.
Youth Work Ireland Laois along with with Laois Partnership have been delivering photography workshops throughout Laois since April 2012. Youth Work Ireland Laois have been working together with local photographer John Lalor to facilitate the workshops with funding from Laois Partnership.
The main aim of the workshops with young people from towns and villages throughout Laois, is to allow them to explore the world around them in a new and profound way.
“Photography is a very good medium to open up a young person’s mind. The kids had taken pictures with their phones and digital cameras but had no understanding of the technical side. For the photos we used disposable cameras because it was about how they see things”.
John said that the participants really enjoyed the workshops and were very enthusiastic about the project.
“From day one I said that this has nothing to do with the camera they are using, it was about the way you see things. There was more emphasis on how they want to express themselves, it was more about them than the camera”.
As well as taking shots out and about in their community, some of the groups John worked with also took studio photos as well, learning about how shots are set up with backdrops and lighting, as well as working with an SLR camera. They also played games throughout the workshops and learned about the technical side of photography.
“In Knockmay and O’ Moore Place it was more like documentary photography, with them taking photos in their estate or out on the street. Other groups went out and about in their communities and they would shoot whatever they see. Them some of the groups focussed more on working in the studio”, he said.
Each of the groups completed 16 hour workshops. The participants were given the opportunity to explore their creativity through a view finder or lens, and encouraged to use photography as a means to express their youth voice and to realise their own unique potential.
Through this process of taking photographs in their environments - home, school, youth club etc. the young people are learning life skills and gaining knowledge of their personal development.
They are learning from their peers experiences and reactions of their worlds while gaining insights into project planning, task management and taking ownership of a worthwhile activity. Portarlington, O’Moore’s Place Portlaoise and Kiln Lane Mountrath, Stradbally and Abbeyleix are the areas that have benefited from these workshops. The young people participating vary in ages from 10-17 years with maximum of 12 young people participating in each workshop.
Aisling O’Shea, Lisa Kerry, Zoe Maher from O’Moore’s Place in Portlaoise all thought the workshops were “amazing, a great experience, excellent”, while Chloe Houlihan from O’Moore’s Place in Portlaoise said “I definitely would come back and do this again, it was brilliant”.