We joined forces with local photographer Geoffrey Hiller, Central City Concern (CCC), and Panasonic for “The Art of Recovery” — a 12 week photography workshop designed for recovering addicts. Much of our mission at Pro Photo Supply aims to collaborate, empower, and facilitate goals within our community, so it was an easy decision to work together.
The Art of Recovery
Geoffrey Hiller conducted weekly, hands-on classes, where participants learned how to operate their generously donated Panasonics (FZ300s & ZS100s) compact with fixed lenses — great for street photography. Thanks Panasonic! Once comfortable with the gear, participants broke out of their comfort zones and ventured out into Portland neighborhoods.
“Engaging in photography is way of communicating emotions in a safe space. This freezing of time, can provide insight into a person’s current situation…… walking around outside while taking photographs has a way of releasing chemicals in the brain that can help foster well-being. Our goal is to show that picture-making can become a transformative process.” — Geoffrey Hiller
What does recovery look like?
Everyone’s experiences differ; however, taking creative control can invigorate the mind, and offer a new focus.
“ It looks different every day, from minute to minute, sometimes second to second. Right now my recovery feels like responsibility and time limits, appointments and classes, but I’ve noticed that sometimes it feels like peace of mind and naps.” – Workshop Participant
What is the relationship between making photographs and the process of recovery?
“…… when I was in-patient I took a Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) class. The part about mindfulness had a huge influence on me and I think that’s required in photography. You need to be in the moment to capture the moment. It’s not necessarily about being happy, it’s about being mindful…” – Workshop Participant
“ At the Farmers’ Market I felt a sense of mindfulness…being there in the moment. I think part of that comes from my recovery. Just learning to not think about the past or the future. Just being right here with whatever is going on at the time.” – Workshop Participant
All of the photographs in these collages were edited by Geoffrey Hiller and made by participants in a three-month photography workshop for people in recovery at Central City Concern in Portland, OR. A big thanks to Dr. Kim Hoffman, a researcher with OHSU, who provided monitoring and evaluation for the project.
This project was sponsored by Pro Photo Supply, Portland, Panasonic Cameras, the US Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs and Central City Concern. For more info and images, visit Geoffrey Hiller’s website.