THEY say a picture can tell a thousand words, but for many, photography is much more than capturing a scene.

It provides an opportunity to explore the local area, get creative and make more friends.

It can also provide a release for those with mental health problems and those who just need to escape the busy rigours of daily life.

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To celebrate World Photography Day, taking place on Sunday, we spoke to some of the Echo’s Camera Club members about their hobby and passion.

Helen Wakeham, 40, of Westcliff, has had mental health problems for a number of years, but has found a sanctuary in taking pictures after she was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

She said: “Photography has helped me with my mental health problems because I can get out and about and clear my head.

“It makes me leave the house and I’m discovering new places in and around Southend that I didn’t know, so learning new things as well.

“I’ve always loved being creative and this picks me up and makes me realise how lucky I am to be alive.

“I also became brave and joined the Echo’s Camera Club and force myself out.

“We’ve been on some amazing meets and I’ve really enjoyed meeting new people and making friends.”

Another member who asked to remain anonymous, got into photography almost three years ago after suffering with depression and self harming.

The 38-year-old, of Southend, who has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, said: “For me, photography gives me focus and gives me a release from daily life.

“I know I can pick my camera up and be myself. I started taking photos to distract my mind.

“I always had an interest in landscape photos and capturing an image you will never see again.

“You can then look back at the photo and remember those happy memories.”

Other members of the Camera Club have also praised photography for given them an escape.

Clifford Leech, 65, of Westcliff, said: “I became interested in photography when I was ten.

“I suffered terribly with eczema and asthma. I think it took my thoughts away from the pain and suffering.

“I guess it was a form of escapism.

“It took me to another world – a world of discovery and wonder.

“It made me feel good when I got the camera film developed seeing the fruits of my labours.”

Carla Doodes, 37, of Southchurch, added: “I like to take photos to capture memories as time flies so fast and I also like to take pictures to show people what is right on your very doorstep so they get out there to see it for themselves.

“I joined the Camera Club group as it’s something I enjoy to do in my spare time and I wanted to learn from like minded people how to use my camera to the best of its ability. I went out of my comfort zone to meet new people and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.

“They’re a great bunch and I love admiring everyone else’s pictures.”

l Search Facebook for “Echo Camera Club South Essex”.





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