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 Tuesday 26th November.
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 00 88 437.
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