I don't know what I'd do without photography

The Disabled Photographers Society (DPS) is a group you very rarely hear about in the press, yet their existence and support to photographers are proving to be a vital part of their lives. Speaking during their annual exhibition, several members have lauded their camera as their most important mental health tool.

"It's my life, before mindfulness was ever a word photography was doing the same thing." - Paul Franklin

Looking at the world through a lens has helped a considerable number of disabled people deal with mental health issues, and improve their lifestyle tremendously. In 2010, scientists analysed and reported the effects of art not just on psychological but also physical health, concluding in The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health: A Review of Current Literature. Reviewing more than 100 studies, they found that the expression that photography promotes helps to bring a focus to positivity, confidence and reduce stress. 

The event showcased photos from a broad range of fields, including fantastic nature shots, music events and many thought evoking portraits. All of which on display in Northleigh House School in Hatton, Warwickshire.

"I don't know what I'd do without photography," began Paul Grant, who showcased his "Duck Stampede" nature snap. He enjoys nothing more than taking his camera out and interacting with people, adding that his disability helped others to "drop their guard" and agree to be photographed. 

Gillian Birbeck who become involved with the DPS after her husbands flying accident left him with spinal injuries spoke of the "wonderful friendships" between their 500 memberships. She began offering adaptations to wheelchairs 18 years ago, fitting camera mounts and shoulder fittings, and is now president of the charity. The DPS is run by a team of volunteers and wholly supported by donations and funding from outside sources. If you have any unwanted photography equipment, books of software would you please consider donating them to the Disabled Photographers' Society you can contact: chairman@the-dps.co.uk

Greg Morris

Business Development

Mark Bates Ltd