Professional photographer Michael Rickwood is focusing on breaking down barriers and developing a passion for photography among the visually impaired community in Northumberland.

Through a remarkable initiative led by Joanne Money, Activities Coordinator at Morpeth’s Vision Northumberland, Michael is providing photography lessons that enable participants to explore the world of visual artistry despite their visual impairments.

The unique photography club comprises individuals who are visually impaired but share an unwavering interest in photography. The club’s primary goal is to rekindle their passion for photography and empower them to express their creativity through this visual medium. One such club member is Allison Murray from Morpeth

Allison, who is visually impaired, discussed the process of taking photographs as someone with limited eyesight. She highlighted the initial challenges of operating a camera without the aid of sight, where many features are audio-described to ensure accessibility. The process can be challenging, and sometimes, assistance is needed depending on the individual’s level of vision. Joanne Money, as the group facilitator, plays a crucial role in helping participants to get to the meetings while Michael provides the necessary technical support, such as helping set up the camera and guiding participants during photography sessions.

The club meets in Project Space in Blyth’s Keel Row Shopping Centre, but they frequently venture out to different locations to capture diverse subjects. In the coming weeks, they have plans to visit Alnwick Gardens for a unique photo shoot. Another favourite location is the small village of Bothal.

Wallsend based Michael Rickwood, the award-winning landscape photographer behind this initiative, described the picturesque village of Bothal in Northumberland as an ideal setting for their creative endeavours. The serene churchyard offers a beautiful backdrop for outdoor photography, while the church’s interior provides opportunities for indoor shots. Michael mentioned the importance of adapting to different lighting conditions to accommodate the varying needs of club members.

Michael’s expertise and dedication to photography have not gone unnoticed, as he proudly shared that he has recently received three awards for Best Landscape Photographer from different prestigious institutes and societies. These accolades serve as a testament to his skill and commitment to his craft.

“I love photography, it was something I took up when I retired, and I get a great deal of satisfaction from the work I do. I also love passing on my knowledge to others and get a lot out of helping people like Allison explore the world of photography and discover their creative potential.

“Through this photography club, supported by Joanne and I, visually impaired individuals are finding renewed inspiration and creativity, proving that passion and artistry have no bounds,” he said.

Michael’s landscape photography is currently on show at Come View my Art in Gateshead.