Creativity is Ageless – Exploring Photography with Alzheimer’s

posted in Inspiration

Creativity is Ageless – Exploring Photography with Alzheimer’s

First of all, I would like to personally invite you to come out and explore the photography displays with all the participants photography on Tuesday May 21st 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm at Breaking Bread Banquet Hall. Hope to see you there!

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Over the past four months of I have the opportunity to be an artist in residence at The Gathering Place. What is The Gathering place you ask? The Gathering Place is a place that provides a day of engaging and participatory activities for adults with memory loss. Volunteers are trained by the Alzheimer’s Association and Activity Professionals are there to provide a dignified and respectful atmosphere for the participants. And what a truly great time that we have had together

What does photography have to do with Alzheimer’s? Might seem like an odd question for some, others might see the correlation directly and some might even already be using photography as a way of strengthening memories and keeping your visual literacy tip-top!

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Let me back track a little bit. I think it might have been just before the holiday season last December when a friend of mine and I were discussing new avenues he was exploring to further his career and passion. As always adaptability and an open mind are your best tools. Myself being a freelance photographer, web programmer, graphic designer and professional coffee drinker am always open to listening to others ideas and collaboration. This is when Marty told me about The Gathering Place and was now asking if I would be interested in helping develop a photography portion for The Gathering Place. Honestly, I was a little intimidated at first. It was just a little over 9 months ago I took on my first Adjunct-Professor duties, and just a year before that, that I had developed a community digital organization class for the Sheboygan Recreation Department. So needless to say I am still a bit “green” around the ears when it comes to teaching. But this seemed to fit so seamlessly into my personal beliefs about how photography can, and does help us retain our memories.

What started as a question to help out has turned into a a series of classroom time teaching and discussing Photography 101 with the participants of The Gathering Place. We covered the basics such as composition, colors, leading-lines, contrast, texture, symmetry, patterns and many more of the fundamentals of photography. Then, utilizing a set of point and shoot cameras that were available through The Gathering Place, after the classroom time everyone went on photo walks to try and put their own keen eyes to the camera. We spent the winter months indoors but as the spring rolled around we ended up coordinating an additional series of “photo-walks” at local businesses and attractions, including Caan’s Floral, The Kohler Design Center, The Stephine Weil Center and more!

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Explore photography created by people with memory loss. Local professional photographer, Mike Wiesman has worked with participants of The Gathering Place to teach basic photography skills and to lead them in various photo walks at community venues.

Currently The Gathering Place meets on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00 am until 3:00 pm.  Participants must go through an application process to attend the program. Volunteers must go through training to help. Please contact Cindy Musial for more information at (920) 627-6847.

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