Leeds exhibition puts mental health in the picture

Owen Copeland and Tim Waters took part in the project. PIC: Karen Rangeley
Owen Copeland and Tim Waters took part in the project. PIC: Karen Rangeley
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A new photography exhibition which captures the relationship between mental health charity volunteers and service users will open on Thursday.

In celebration of National Mental Health Awareness Week, which begins on Monday, Leeds-based mental health charity Community Links is launching Life Through Lenses.

The exhibition will be opened by actors Zoe Henry and Eden Taylor-Draper from Emmerdale which has highlighted mental health in several story-lines.

Life Through Lenses brings together service users and volunteers from the charity with a professional documentary photographer and Leeds College of Art students.

The candid images highlight the important relationship between service users - many of whom have experienced a wide range of mental health disorders including anxiety, depression and psychosis - and the community support volunteers who support them in their recovery.

Photographer Karen Rangeley, who was commissioned by Community Links to photograph the relationship between five service users and their community support volunteers, said: “I felt that it was important that the participants had the opportunity to convey their point of view, rather than me simply documenting their relationships. We provided them with disposable black and white film cameras for them to take out on their weekly meetings.”

Tim Waters’ love of photography was the reason he became interested in Life Through Lenses.

Tim, who has been supported by volunteer Owen Copeland for the last few months, said: “I experience agoraphobia, and Owen has helped me enormously, making me feel more relaxed outside the house.”

Life through Lenses runs from May 19 to June 17 at Shine Business Centre.