Past Belfast Exchange Gallery Exhibition

Now You See Us

Various - 6 July to 18 July 2012

Supported by Children in Need, Belfast Exposed has been working with young people across Northern Ireland over the last two years, helping them to use photography as a way of developing new skills, increasing self confidence and exploring questions of positive and negative representations of youth. Belfast Exposed worked with groups as diverse as IMPACT Training and FASA Forum for Action on Substance Abuse(Shankill); Bridge Community Association/SWAN Training (East Belfast); Ardoyne Youth Club (north Belfast); Workforce Training (Skills for Life);  Rossmar Special School (Limavady) and SAFER Lisburn partnership.

This is a small selection of work made over 2 years by over 60 young people taking part from across NI.  

Some of the young people explored challenging themes, the FASA project photographed an awareness programme, which stages drug taking scenarios to dramatise not only the dangers but the squalor and ugliness of drug and alcohol abuse.  These negative images are contrasted with images that show the ‘natural highs’ available to young people getting involved in youth activities and personal development programmes organised by the local community.

As well as gaining experience in photography and using the medium to explore important issues, many of the participants have compiled substantial personal portfolios as part of an accreditation process.  Bridge Community Association/SWAN Training and IMPACT training used accredited photography courses to develop young people’s skills, improve their employment opportunities and build confidence.  Workforce Training (Skills for Life project) one of the earliest participating groups, used photography as a way of offering young people a way back into formal training, getting experience of working as individuals and as a team to plan photo shoots; applying numeracy skills to master the technical aspects of photography.

Other groups used the photography sessions to have fun with cameras. In Limavady, students from Rossmar Special School went out and about to explore and capture the beauty of the natural environment around the Roe Valley.  Meanwhile, back in the city, the group from Ardoyne youth club staged a girls only fashion shoot last July, using their images to make posters, which decorate a newly designated Girls’ Room in the Youth Club.

The theme of positive and negative images of young people in the community was taken up by the SAFER Lisburn group. First shown at the Island Arts Centre, the group uses photography and photoshop to explore the way young people’s identities emerge and are formed in the space between how they see themselves and are seen by others.


Thanks to Children in Need and all the participants who took part in this project