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  • Writer's pictureRae Story

Ruskin inspired Mindful Photography

Yesterday was our last workshop at Elizabeth Gaskell House as part of their Ruskin Celebrations and exhibition : " “My Dear Mr Ruskin….” Friendship, Inspiration and Scandal, John Ruskin and the Gaskell family opened on 18 July 2019 at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, exploring the friendship between The Gaskell family and John Ruskin in a new year-long exhibition as part of The Ruskin Bicentenary.

Click here to see photographs by Andy Atkinson from today's workshop

Click here to photographs by Les Stentaford

Portrait of some of the people who took part in our Mindful Photography Workshop 30/7/19

When we met at St Luke's I gave everyone a handout with information about John Ruskin, it covered his areas of work, link with Manchester and connection with the Gaskells. This gave us a bit more information to start the session. When we arrived at Elizabeth Gaskell's House we met a few more participants enroute who had not read this handout so we began by standing in the hallway and had an impromptu reading of the handout by three people in beautifully clear calm voices which echoed around the hallway. Now that we all had a picture of who Ruskin was we went upstairs to begin our session looking at the new exhibition. It was fantastic, in such a small room we learned so much more about Ruskin. Everyone responded well to the information and images and a few people got straight into drawing from the nature table which was set up beautifully with tiny easels for the finished drawings.

We then had a lively debate about who this man was, discussing the gossip and the scandal that surrounded his personal relationships and whether or not that should influence how we we see his impact and contribution to so many fields. We didn't know that he had had such a profound effect on Ghandi for instance.

We then began our mindful photography workshop down in the period rooms. Beginning with a short meditation to ground us in the present and help us to let go of whatever was going around our minds, we opened our eyes refreshed and began to respond to a series of briefs that had been set to help us structure our time there.

Texture | Atmosphere | Scene

We had another fabulous day at the Gaskell house.

Feedback from the session:

"The meditations were very powerful, really changed the way I looked and took photos"

"I loved all of it, the exhibition was very informative and I am so happy that our photos from the garden were included"

"It is so good to slow down, to relax, to stop thinking"

"Thanks Rae. Yes enjoyed very much your workshop. And Wayne said that he enjoyed himself too! You even put me to sleep with your relaxing talk at the end of the class!

Ha ha. 😂😂 and then I made everyone jump by shouting out.

Wayne still laughing this morning!

Personally I was very moved by Paul's reflections:

" I really enjoyed the workshop, the meditations and relaxation especially - but I have to say I wasn't as happy with my photographs today, I don't know, I did prefer it when we were photographing in the outside - the trees and plants and flowers - in the sunshine, it just felt so good, there is definitely power in the colour green!"

It seems for Paul at least Ruskin was right! The best art is inspired by and reflecting nature.

Over the next few weeks we will work on editing peoples images and sharing them with you. Watch this space!

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