DEEDS was out with our dementia social group in Park to begin the Portrait Workshop phase of our Treasured Possessions project funded by the Arts Council for Northern Ireland. Artist and photographer Emmett McSheffrey led the group through a series of portraits beginning with paintings from the 1500’s and we explored photography from studio portraits in the 1800’s and ending with the selfie where we have all become photographers of our own lives. We looked at famous photos of Winston Churchill and Marilyn Monroe and found out the stories behind the images.

Emmett then led us through taking portraits using polaroid cameras. The members enjoyed experimenting with these and found they liked the black and white ones best as it reminded them of old photographs from home.

Comments on the workshop afterwards: “This was so interesting.” “I like the man in the painting – he reminded me of Jesus.” “Sometimes photographs can lie!” “This was a different kind of session today – I enjoyed it very much”.

Before we closed the workshop part of the session, Emmett took a group portrait where some of the members were pictured with their treasured possession from home. Of course, we ended with a wee cup of tea where we chatted about the objects the group had brought in. Over the next two weeks all our dementia social groups will participate in this second phase of the project.