Now playing in Penlan…

Camera Confidence in Penlan this morning explored themes on employability and empowerment. By encouraging our participants to put themselves in the picture they have full control over the stories they tell. Today we considered body position, eye contact, and posture in order to create a great impression of ourselves in front of the camera. Participants also looked at camera angles, distance from the camera, and composition in order to show us their best sides.

The results are humorous, strong, and loaded with visual motifs to give impressions of confidence. Knowing how and where to place yourself to come across your best to others is a skill we discussed at length. As a result, all our participants felt strong and confident enough to present their photographs to the rest of the group. Standing in front of a group of strangers, presenting yourself calmly and confidently, is no mean feat but our Penlan participants took every challenge in their stride today. Impressive! Well done gang!

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Faking it!

At Camera Confidence we know that confidence isn’t something you can buy and waiting around for it to arrive on your doorstep isn’t going to happen any time soon. Sometimes the way to get through a situation then is to make sure you’re putting on your best ‘front’ so that other people can’t see that you’re quaking in your boots.

Faking it is all about your body language. Pulling your shoulders back, standing strong and tall, and making eye contact can give others the impression that you’re on a mission with substance and purpose. If you can fake it and get through the scary times this can give you the confidence to tackle a similar situation again if it arises. What hasn’t killed you can only make you stronger.

When taking our portraits we also considered where we could put the camera to make us feel even stronger. Standing above someone puts you in a position of strength, whilst being at a lower level than them gives them the strength. Often we choose to take pictures of each other at the same eye height, giving us an equality with the person we’re communicating with. With these tools at our disposal our group braved the 35C heat and came back stronger than ever.

Mixed in with these pictures are photographs from a second mission. Here we looked at creating images that made us feel happy. Having a bank of happy memories can also boost us when we’re not feeling strong enough to tackle the world. After looking at these images though I wouldn’t be surprised if our Bonymaen group weren’t ready to take over the world!

Empowerment through Selfies

Part of the Camera Confidence course focuses on giving people the tools to feel good about their body images. Selfies don’t have to feature the face and there are plenty of other ways to share a piece of yourself with the world in a strong and confident way.

Some of our participants quake at the thought of putting themselves in front of the camera so their task this morning was to find alternative ways to show themselves. We discussed how taking a picture of yourself can be empowering, how others perceive us, and how to create the perfect ‘front’ if you’re not feeling all that confident.

So here are our shy Monday morning Sandfields group. They’re all strong and happy in what they’ve shared. Many photographs here are loaded with ideas on strength, confidence, and direction. They love their own photographs enough to share them with you here. Having the confidence to say, “Here I am. I don’t care what you think of me. I am proud to be me!” Is what Camera Confidence is all about.

Booze, Butts, and Bras

Every neighbourhood has a different story to tell and today’s has been a tale of old bottles and discarded underwear. Meanwhile clusters of cigarette butts tell us of friends and strangers who have huddled together outside public buildings and shared stories and possibly lighters.

Looking for the story in the trash we leave behind helps us use our imagination and re-engage with our sense of play that we had when we were little. Feeling positive about objects with seemingly negative connotations can lift our spirits and help us feel more confident. Here in Penlan, our Camera Confidence group developed their sense of adventure and developed an imaginative spirit as they added to the story of their lives.

Now, just a walk to the corner shop on a dreary day has the potential to be something more. It is seeing this world, warts and all, and not letting it get you down that is the key to being more confident and happy. We don’t always get it right but at least we have the tools to examine things from new and interesting perspectives.

Grow your own Confidence

Camera Confidence is a course designed to give you confidence but it’s not something you get automatically just by turning up. Confidence has to start with you, and you have to feed it in the right way for it to grow. All we do when delivering the course is give you the plant pot, the seeds, and the watering can for you to grow your own confidence in the best possible way. What you do with it after that is totally up to you!

This week our Bonymaen participants learned how to find beauty in things that would previously be overlooked or considered an eyesore. Any inner-city housing estate has all sorts of interesting quirks but it seems that rubbish isn’t one of Bonymaen’s! The group struggled to find trash and discarded items and they quickly concluded that Bonymaen is actually a lovely, clean, and pleasant place to be.

By looking for the rubbish and photographing it in a really positive way we made any negative stuff look amazing. It’s hard to believe that this group haven’t had any previous experience with photography. They found vibrant colours and shapes and played with scale and composition with confidence and ease. Let’s face it, if you can make beautiful pictures of stuff that has negative implications, then you can feed positive and confident about pretty much anything. Next week the challenge will be to see if we can use the same philosophy and make ourselves look positive and confident in front of the camera.

In Port Talbot’s front yard…

We spent this morning on Aberavon seafront looking for the negatives and the positives to photograph. Usually it’s easy to spot the negatives; a crisp packet here, a broken bottle there. But today that task proved virtually impossible. Really. I’m not even joking. This area of Port Talbot is the cleanest place in the universe. Yes it all looks grey and windswept but it everything here is lovely.  It took almost an hour to find just one piece of trash and even then it was buried deep between a few rocks on the beach.

So on a bleak Monday morning in June we were forced to only look on the positive things we found. Here was wonderfully mis-shapen driftwood, there were the remains of offshore algal blooms foaming against the steps, over in the distance were lifeguards, and sculptures. We have been tourists in Port Talbot’s front yard and seen through fresh eyes what this place really stands for. That’s Camera Confidence for you!

Good Morning Penlan

Here we are in Penlan this morning helping people gain confidence in themselves by creating awesome photographs of their awesome neighbourbood. Every neighbourhood has it’s own vibe. Some places feel warm and bubbly, others feel cold and bleak. The skill to feeling confident in yourself about your own area is to look for the positive, no matter how small it may be.

Discovering new textures and patterns, looking for colour, or meeting and spending time with new friends can all lead to feeling more confident about life. Being a tourist in your own back yard brings fresh challenges as well as a more interesting outlook on life. The next few weeks bringing Camera Confidence to Penlan are going to be fun!