Two professional photographers in Blackpool are offering families the chance to learn how to capture their own family portraits.

Whipper Snappers – made up of Claire Griffiths and Jill Reidy – has teamed up with Blackpool’s Better Start child development partnership to deliver workshops to families at Sure Start children’s centres across the town, providing family engagement in an age-old tradition of the family portrait.

Over a series of three hour and a half sessions participating families will have their portraits taken by Whipper Snappers before being taught how to use a professional camera. Later sessions will also involve collage making and framing and the final session will include an exhibition at the children’s centre, of the work created during the course.

By working together to learn a new skill the workships, which are supported by local arts organisation Left Coast, aim to bring families closer by engage with each other in a constructive way away from daily routines.

“We believe that new ways of seeing can be developed through photography,” said Griffiths. “Blackpool can sometimes be poorly represented in the press and I’m interested in how photography can create confidence, raise esteem and improve communication within the community – and in this instance between children and parents.”

Parents with children under the age of three can take part in the workshops by contacting one of the seven participating children’s centres and booking one of the limited spaces.

Griffiths was inspired to set up the project by a young children’s centre user in Blackpool.

“A few years ago, I was photographing for Library Services at a local children centre where I met a young girl who told me confidently she was going to be a photographer when she was older. I agreed,” said Griffiths, who hopes the resulting portraits will eventually be shown in a larger exhibition and presented in hardback book. “We think everyone is capable of taking good pictures and being able to skill share photography knowledge is very rewarding. The centres and families we have met so far have been really interested and enthusiastic about taking part.”

Follow the Whipper Snappers project on Facebook and find your local children’s centre here.


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