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Community Connections

Sophie’s photography: more than just a hobby

University of Canberra alumna Sophie Green graduated with a Bachelor of Industrial Design in 2006, during which time she discovered her love of photography. Now, Sophie wants to share that passion with the UC community and pass on how she used it to escape the craziness of the COVID-19 pandemic over the last 18 months.

After her degree, Sophie started a Graduate Diploma in Education in 2007, and has spent her time since working in high schools, colleges, and primary schools throughout Canberra.

She is currently working as an art teacher, and has started her own photography business, Green Frog Creative, which is where she spends most of her time.

Sophie’s passion for photography emerged during her time as a student at UC, developing from an interest she has always had in the creative realm.

“As part of my design course at UC, we got to do a six-month photography unit – back then I was still using the dark room and developing film,” Sophie says.

“I’ve always been interested in creative things. This hobby is just really handy because you can take photos wherever you are – I can take them of my kids, or on a walk, or whatever.”

Since being given a taste at university, Sophie says photography has become more than just a hobby, developing into her way to escape the world.

“It has been a really good way of escaping because you can kind of go out and get distracted by taking photos,” she says.

“In some ways it’s a form of mindfulness. When you’re walking around with your camera, you don’t think of other things, when you’re looking through the viewfinder at what is right in front of you.”

Using photography to switch off from the world has helped Sophie get through the past 18 months, with the stressors of the COVID-19 pandemic, and has allowed her to remember each day for its beauty and not its stresses.

Photography can be used as a form of storytelling, and capturing each day without political context, and Sophie makes the most of this.

“You can look back at the photos and they remind you, ‘oh, that was a really nice sunny day,’” Sophie says.

“You’re actually looking at your surroundings and everything around you rather than thinking about all the political topics and everything that’s going on.”

But it isn’t just the act of taking photos itself that has helped Sophie throughout the past few months. The online communities she has become a part of, with people who share the same passion, have been a ‘nice brain break’.

“I’m part of some online photography groups myself, and they’ve been really good over the past 18 months, because it’s all been about photography and enjoying people’s photos – none of the other issues of the world have come into it,” Sophie says.

“I think it’s quite good for mental health, it’s definitely helped me.”

From 25 August to 22 September, Sophie will be providing photography courses – known as Click and Connect – to members of the UC community to share her passion and boost morale, detailing some of the ways she has used photography over the past few months.

The course is aimed at teaching photography skills that participants can take with them throughout their lives, and also provides a community to connect, just like Sophie has done.

“We have set up some Microsoft Teams groups where students and staff in their separate groups can upload photos, ask for feedback, and see what everyone else is doing, as a way of connecting,” Sophie says.

“Hopefully if people learn a few more techniques, they can take it up as a hobby if they want to, pretty much giving them the tools as a base, then launch that into whatever they want it to turn into.”

Sophie’s advice to anyone wishing to start out in photography during this lockdown is to just pick up a camera and give it a go.

“There are some different rules that can help you, but one of the biggest things with photography is that you learn lots of the rules – and then when you develop past that you learn how to break them,” she says.

“Just snap lots of photos! Don’t be held back by trying to get the perfect photo every time. No photographer ever does.”

Words by Sara Garrity, photos supplied.

Students and staff at the University of Canberra can sign up to the Click and Connect courses on Eventbrite.

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