I had always dreamed of being a photographer when I was at school but life, greed and sales targets got in the way for the first 15 years of my career. I had a succession of jobs I was good at and with that came the material rewards. It was only when my body and mind buckled under the stress that I was forced to rethink my future.
When you are losing sleep over Transport Ticketing Systems and Energy Efficient Boilers it's time to ask yourself where your dreams have disappeared to. Panic attacks and anxiety were not part of the grand plan.
This was back in Feb 2005, 10 years ago and at the time I had no idea what I would do with my future. I turned to my family for the love and support they had always shown me and then my sister, Sarah asked me to photograph the launch of her new business. I'd got a posh camera and always kept up with my photography since my days of being a photographers assistant back in 1987. The pictures were a success and so Kate Green Photography was born.
It's a sad fact of life that while I was 'in between jobs' I lost my sense of purpose and my identity. It's hard making small talk without asking or being asked 'What do you do?' Whilst I had always been proud of the jobs I 'd had, as a photographer I was finally doing something I loved and cared about that made me feel healthy and fulfilled. I think it's no coincidence that many friends and acquaintances of my generation have suffered stress and anxiety and have eventually turned to self employment and to following their dreams. I heard recently that Birmingham has the highest number of newly self employed people in the UK and that the creative sector is the fastest growing sector in the city. Perhaps that's another blog post for another time.
Over the past 10 years I have been privileged to work with some amazing people and have witnessed first hand the changes in people when they are allowed to be creative. Whether that is photography, film, dance, music, textiles, sculpture, ceramics or comedy I have seen the transformational shift in people's mood, health, energy and wellbeing and each time the results astound me. Quite often I witness these activities taking place in hospitals and care settings when health and well being is already challenged. My aim is to highlight the importance of practicing creativity both as a prevention and a cure.
I am grateful for the way photography transforms the way I feel. It makes me feel present and connected making my worries disappear while my camera is to my face. This is why I have decided to document the impact of arts and creativity on health and wellbeing. So who are these pictures for? Well first and foremost they're for me. Over the past couple of years life got in the way again and I forgot the words of my old friend and mentor Eric Lawe who always told me to 'look, look and look again'. This new body of work is a chance for me to be creative, to focus my camera and my mind again and take pictures for me. If along the way I can inspire creativity in someone else, perhaps motivate a care setting to invest in arts practitioners or help attract funding for the organisations I photograph then all the better.
'Every child is born an artist, the problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up' Pablo Picasso.
So for all people that say 'Oh I'm not artistic, it's not for me' just take a moment to think again. Join that choir, get that camera out, enquire about an evening class, sing in the shower or dust off your musical instruments. When was the last time you invested in you? Go on, feed your soul.