Trust Thamesmead

Charlie's Moving Story

Over the past year the Trust has been working with students from Woolwich Polytechnic on a photography project called Thamesmead Places and Faces which involved four post-16 students working with our photographer Paul Sanders to study the basics of photo composition and come up with a portfolio of images depicting Thamesmead through their eyes.

As the project draws to a close we asked one of the students, Charlie, to talk about the project and the impact it has made on his life.

I wanted to learn about photography because it is something that has always interested me. My dream has always been to be a film director. Knowing how to use a camera properly and how to place things within the frame of a shot has made me become more aware of how important the detail is. In addition, photography has helped me understand how the lighting and the background has an impact on the overall effectiveness of the picture. All of these skills can be transferred to the medium of the moving image. 

Trust Thamesmead was looking for some photography taken of the local area by local people to use in future marketing projects. It was based on faces and places in Thamesmead and we were asked to take photographs of both the negative and positive aspects of our community.
I was taught how to use a camera; the difference between a well taken shot and a less effective shot; it also involved the effective use of colour and lighting to create mood.
Paul our photography instructor was a very influential teacher: he always encouraged us to do our best. The most important thing for me was that I felt safe making mistakes. The way he viewed my initial mistakes, made me feel that I was growing as a photographer (I could see myself improving week on week) and I began to realise that this was a way of learning and making my future photography even better.

Before I did this course, I was lacking in confidence: I always held back in expressing my views and opinions on things. Taking pictures allowed me to express myself in picture form; I found this a lot less scary to do because the focus was on the picture and not on me. In fact I have always been lacking in confidence ever since I was a small child.  However, as the course continued, I discovered that I became more confident in expressing myself.

Indeed, everyone that I had worked with on the course was really supportive and friendly towards me. This gave me an extra boost in confidence. The medium of photography built my self-belief. I was praised and my work was acknowledged as being of a high standard. I was now convinced that that my dream of being a director could be realised.

My school, my old and new friends (who I met on the course), Paul and Trust Thamesmead all had a part to play in helping me become, first of all a photographer, but also a confident young adult - who no longer fears the sting of other people's judgements!

My advice to other young people would be that even though you feel you may be judged on what you do and what you say, making simple mistakes isn't always a bad thing. Use it as a spring board to get even closer to your goals. Surround yourself with positive people who will support you in all that you do.

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