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News Archive November 2019

Rescheduled: Book launch in association with Mind in Somerset and Waterstones in Yeovil

Paul Williams is a wildlife photographer different to any other. His new book is described by Chris Packham as ‘a brutally honest visual journey … uplifting and beautiful’ and Paul will be showing his photos and talking about the book at Waterstones, Yeovil from 7pm on Wednesday 5th February.

Waterstones are kindly hosting the evening in association with Mind in Somerset and 10 per cent of the sales of the book at the event, Veloce, the publisher is generously donating to the mental health charity. 

Wildlife Photography: saving my life one frame at a time, explores the links between wellbeing and wildlife photography and charts Paul’s own journey, which has seen his passion for photography and nature help to heal the mental wounds that left him hopeless and suicidal.

Demonstrating how wildlife photography has the power to improve physical and mental wellbeing, the book is designed to appeal to a wide range of individuals, from beginners with very little photographic experience through to those further along on their photographic journey, as well as those interested in Paul’s odyssey from rock bottom to rediscovery of a life worth living.

TV presenter, conservationist and nature photographer Chris Packham commented after reading the book, “Photography has the power to change people’s minds; here, it’s a means of mending a mind, illustrating a brutally honest visual journey through Paul’s account of his breakdown and recovery. Uplifting and beautiful in its simplicity, this is a heartening tale of how a closer bond with nature can heal the human mind.”

Throughout the book we learn how wildlife photography pulled Paul back from the brink after his very challenging careers took their toll on his mental state. A career soldier, he went on to become a highly qualified physical training instructor before shattering both ankles in a climbing accident.

After leaving the military Paul gained a First Class honours degree in Clinical Mental Health nursing, and worked as a senior mental health specialist in Assertive Outreach. At the age of 40 he decided on a complete career change and joined the police. In 2010 he developed PTSD after defending four people against a mentally ill, samurai sword-wielding woman, and became very unwell very quickly, attempting suicide three times before experiencing a significant breakthrough with a new psychotherapy treatment. 

Already an amateur photographer with some 20 years’ experience, Paul picked up his camera to give him an incentive to get out, as he had become far too reclusive. He discovered great satisfaction from sitting in still, quiet spaces waiting for wildlife to appear (or not, as was often the case).

What makes the book so unique is how Paul can combine practical help on photography alongside an insightful commentary on his mental well-being. For example:  “All three of these images were shot in my garden on a bright, sunny day that gave me plenty of light to help keep the shutter speed high – essential if you want to keep fast-moving subjects sharp, and you don’t have, or want to use, flash.

“Knowing I had only to go into my garden to take these images meant a lot of the stress I associated with going out amongst people was significantly reduced. Looking back, I now know that finding the motivation to take these images when I was so unwell were important first steps on the road to my recovery.”

The book of 200 original colour images has general tips and points about equipment, fieldcraft and techniques.

It also seamlessly aligns photography with creative suggestions around mindfulness, well-being and holism to create a blueprint for all, and especially anyone experiencing poor mental or physical health, who would like to express themselves creatively in the natural world.

Wildlife Photography, saving my life one frame at a time is published by Hubble & Hattie, an imprint of Veloce Publishing Ltd, RRP: £29.99.

For any queries on this release please call Paul Nathanson 0771 0088437.

Tickets on the door, £3, to include a glass of wine or soft drink at Waterstones Yeovil, 37a Middle Street, Yeovil BA20 1LG.

Author: Marc Lewis
Posted on: 19th November 2019

Time to Change Somerset – Champions Fund Launch


Time to Change Somerset is pleased to announce the launch of its Champions Fund – a £10,000 pot of money to help people with lived experience of poor mental health in Somerset to challenge mental health stigma in their local area.

Each applicant must be a registered Time to Change Champion and can apply for up to £500. The funding will support Champions in sparking conversations in their community between people who have lived experienced and those who have not, helping to change the way we all think and act about mental health problems. Activities can range from stalls in shopping centres or festivals to free haircuts by bantering barbers and even ‘walk and talk’ dog walks! The more creative, the better!


To apply for funding, applicants need to be a registered Time to Change Champion, be at least 18 years old, have lived experience of a mental health problem and hold their event in Somerset.

To apply for the Champions Fund go to https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/get-involved/become-time-change-hub/champions-fund/information-applicants.


For more information contact Will at [email protected]

Author: Marc Lewis
Posted on: 10th November 2019

Quiet Places for Unquiet Minds Exhibition


Artist printmaker Simon Ripley was appointed by Somerset Art Works to run a programme of printmaking workshops with the Bridgwater Mind Art Group during the autumn of 2019. The objectives were to focus on teaching new skills, encouraging participants to explore their creativity, build confidence and foster wellbeing. Art activities of any sort are great for developing self esteem and for maintaining wellbeing in turbulent times – the chance to reflect upon one’s circumstances and express oneself are invaluable.

An exhibition of prints created by the group will be on display at Bridgwater Arts Centre from 8th to 28th November, open Tuesday to Friday 10am – 3pm.

“I have loved working with a very enthusiastic group of artists at the Bridgwater Mind Art Group. The group sampled the processes of mono print, collagraph, drypoint, linocut and letterpress – all of which can be seen in the exhibition. Each week, for 2 hours, we would focus on printmaking with curiosity and energy. Everyone was keen to have a go and because it’s printmaking, everyone has come away with several copies of their work.”                       Simon Ripley – Lead Artist

Quiet Places for Unquiet Minds

A Somerset Art Works Artist Residency Project 

Working with Mind in Somerset and wellbeing groups around the county


Author: Marc Lewis
Posted on: 8th November 2019

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