Dean O'Brien's Blog

Salvation Army, Coventry: Hope Meeting ‘Breaking The Wall of Social Exclusion’ 15/12/2010

with 3 comments

As the weeks go by I seem to be gaining a greater understanding of people and how different we all are.  My voluntary work at The Salvation Army in Coventry is an eye opener.  On Wednesday I was asked to photograph the weekly Hope meeting which takes place here.  Hope standing for ‘Helping Other Projects Evolve’.  The basic aim being that the group help a number of voluntary, religious or community organisations projects evolve.

As stated in the notes which I was given ‘It is our intent to help break the wall of social exclusion’.  Exclusion being the word here.  These people here do feel excluded.  Schemes such as hope get these people back out there in the community mixing with everyday folk and serving a purpose.  The stereotypical homeless bearded man is far from the real truth.  Many men here are only homeless for s short period of time.  Schemes such as ‘Hope’ get them into the routine of going back out to work and also learning practical skills.

This meeting was constructive and very light hearted.  Its a side I never expected to see in this building.  I think we all have the view that the people who live in places such as this have no real purpose or direction.  Meetings such as this prove that this is not the case.

Christmas is a strange time of year for many.  A time for families and reflection.  Looking back at the past year and what happened.  Depressing for many.  The work that Kervin, Tony and Linda do along with many others here is changing lives.  I am witnessing that first hand.

I am deciding to continue with the decision to only use flash photography when absolutely necessary.  The sudden burst of a flash going off seems to draw unnecessary attention.  Its also a great way to experiment with apertures, iso’s and shutter speeds.  Its making me think a lot more about how I want the image to look.  A shallow depth of field does suit many of the images shot in this environment.  This is enabling me to mix my passion of portrait and documentary photography.

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Written by Dean O'Brien

December 20, 2010 at 10:44 am

3 Responses

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  1. Great set Dean. Getting in closer I feel which improves your images.

    rick medlock

    December 20, 2010 at 1:53 pm

  2. I love the portraits that you captured and what a wonderful way to spend your time! Thanks for sharing this with us.


    December 22, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    • Thanks for your comment Mindy. I agree that its a great way to spend some constructive time. Its an ongoing project but something which is very rewarding. I’m working on a body of work at the moment which is going to develop into an exhibition and book to be released in June 2011, This should help highlight what I have been documenting here.

      Dean O'Brien

      December 22, 2010 at 5:00 pm

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