Rachael has volunteered as a photographer for almost two years now. Taking photos of the events and Bute Park has given her a lot of experience as she currently studies photography at the University of South Wales.
Why did you choose to volunteer with Bute Park?
I originally decided to join because I enjoy photographing nature. However, after taking photos of people for the park, I started to prefer that. It allows me to do photography without it being for coursework and in general it is just nice to get away from uni work for a bit. It is a nice stress relief and I like the fact that I am helping out. As I used to help out with a guide group at home, it also seemed like the right fit.
How did you hear about the role?
I first joined as part of a university project the park had with University of South Wales in my first year. Afterwards Meriel contacted the university and said she would like to have some student photographers to take pictures of the Education Centre’s events and the park. I also did a one-week work placement at the park and worked collaboratively with Meriel. This placement made me want to continue volunteering after the end of placement.
How often do you volunteer?
Whenever I am needed really. I mainly help out during half term and school holiday events. I don’t just take the pictures then, but also provide a helping hand where needed.
What does your typical day volunteering look like?
Usually if it is a full day, I meet with Meriel at ten to be briefed on the event. Meriel then also explains to me what she would like me to focus on. The rest of the day I take photos of the event and people getting involved with the activities. Next to the photography, I also help when children and adults arrive and get everything organised.
Do you have any preferences on what to capture?
Before volunteering at the park, I actually didn’t like taking photos of people’s faces, but now I prefer it. Faces are so expressive and interesting to look at. I also like to take photos outside, as it feels less intrusive and the children just do their own thing. They rarely notice me capturing the moment, which creates some lovely images. It is also fun to photograph a mixture of people, both children and adults, especially when parents get involved in the activities such as those over half term.
What do you enjoy the most about volunteering?
It is nice to give something back to the community, in this case my photos. It is also always great to see my photos being used on social media, the park’s website or on banners and posters. It makes me feel like I am contributing to it all and am part of it.
Check out Rachael’s work at www.rachaelmowerphotography.com