Photographers put recovery Back In Focus

Photographers, from left, Terry Hughes, Bradley Parker and Paul Cartwright with their work at Blackpool Central Library
Photographers, from left, Terry Hughes, Bradley Parker and Paul Cartwright with their work at Blackpool Central Library
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Photographers. Fathers. Friends. Builders. Former criminals.

These exhibitors are setting out to change people’s perspective of people in recovery or who have been in prison, through a pop-up photo exhibition - Back In Focus.

Terry Hughes, Bradley Parker and Paul Cartwright, who are each either recovering drug addicts or former criminals, have produced 40 images of people from Blackpool - some who they knew, others who they approached simply to photograph.

The photos are being displayed on the railings outside Blackpool Central Library and the Grundy Art Gallery, on Queen Street, this weekend.

The project offered the group an opportunity to challenge views of what people in recovery have to offer communities, as well as raise self esteem.

Mr Cartwright, 36, said: “Photos can say so much. It was daunting at first approaching people for photos but we’ve learned so much.”

Terry Hughes and some of the photographs at Blackpool Central Library

Terry Hughes and some of the photographs at Blackpool Central Library

Mr Hughes, 42, added: “I had a bit of self doubt at first but now I see the results I realise I can do it, and much more.”

The trio, who work for community interest company Jobs, Friends, Houses (JFH) took part seven weeks of training, working with two established photographers, Len Grant and Claire Griffiths.

JFH offers meaningful employment to former addicts who are now abstinent, supporting them to train in apprenticeships in the building trade, architecture, accountancy and healthcare.

The company does up derelict properties in Blackpool to sell on or create housing for others in recovery.

The social enterprise, backed by Lancashire Police and run by a top serving officer, also seeks to offer its employees a new lifestyle, including trips to the theatre and artistic training such as the Back In Focus project.

Miss Griffiths said: “Photos can really break down barriers and pop up exhibitions are a really good way to engage people in art, so this has been a good way to challenge people’s perceptions.”

Mr Grant said: “In seven weeks they’ve put on a pop-up exhibition and had their work published, it’s allowed them to see themselves as creative people.”

Mr Parker, 20, said: “It’s not just a building company we work for, it offers so much more.”