All Eyes on Me was an artist-led pilot project with and for young people in and around Brighton.
Photographer Sarah Heath worked with a group of young people at their Youth Club, experimenting with different photographic techniques to explore their feelings about how they are represented and how they represent themselves.
The project began with a taster session at the club’s half-term sleep over where the young people were introduced to Sarah. Together they looked at and talked about Beat Streuli’s portraits of people out and about in Brighton. Following this, Sarah gave participants a disposable camera each and challenged them to scrutinise the people that normally scrutinise them.
During the five-week project the young people took part in a professional photo shoot to create their own portraits, learnt about editing processes and looked at Sarah’s own work as a professional photographer. The project concluded with a re-creation of Streuli’s commission. The group went outside and took it in turns to choreograph and direct their own crowd scene photographs.
Sarah Heath graduated from the Editorial Photography course at the University of Brighton. Her recent work includes photography projects with the organisation Care Co-ops. She says: ‘The strong identities, vibrant personalities and established teamwork of the group resulted in a hugely successful project. The participants achieved fantastic results, gained a wider understanding of photography and experienced the empowerment in their role as photographers turning the camera on their observers. It was a mutually rewarding process’.
Julia Box, a key youth worker for the arts who collaborated with the bpb on this project says: ‘The project has given the young people the opportunity to learn new skills and express themselves creatively, and provided a platform for them to share their work with a wider public. Realising they can produce high quality work and seeing it respected by other people has really built their self-esteem. It has been great to observe their confidence grow throughout the sessions with Sarah’.