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Latest News 7 September 2022

Photography Exhibition set to showcase the work of Blesma Members

A photography exhibition at the University of Plymouth is set to showcase the work of injured veterans.  

The 250 photographs on display are the work of injured veterans from the Military Charity Blesma, The Limbless Veterans, who all form part of the ‘Southwest Photography Group’. 

The group of now 17 was founded in 2020 by Royal Navy Darran Thompson to give photographers in the area a weekly focus during the lockdown.  

Darran, who was diagnosed with Stiff Person Syndrome in 1998 which has resulted in the loss of use of his limbs, said: “A lot of Members were isolated during the lockdown and had nothing to do so I thought a competition would cheer everyone up and give them a focus. I got the enjoyment of collating all the photos, but I could check in on the group, too. We had regular Zoom calls and got to swap tips.” 

Post-lockdown, the photography group began meeting in person through Blesma organised trips, and secured year-long funding from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust to support Blesma’s photography trips.  

The exhibition will mark the final funded event. On display will be wildlife shots, landscapes, and shots taken from the group’s trips to SS Great Britain, The Eden Project, Exeter Museum, and many more.  

“On our very first trip, there were only four of us, so to get to this point now with more photographers and an exhibition planned, I’m blown away. Everybody is thoroughly enjoying it and that’s all I could ask for. We’ve been blessed with a trip every month, even visiting London, and now we get to show off some of our work.” 

“As you work your way through the exhibition you will see everybody’s images printed six by four, like a montage board at the end. Those visiting the exhibition will also be able to purchase photographs they like. I’m not nervous about getting the photographs printed but I am nervous about if anyone will turn up.” 

Southwest Outreach Officer Sarah Payne said “It’s been wonderful to watch our injured Veterans grow and mentor and support each other through Covid. They’ve become a great support group for each other. It’s amazing to see their beautiful photographs come together for their own exhibition. I’m so proud of all their enthusiasm.” 

The Southwest Photography Exhibition is being held in the Roland Lavinsky Building at the University of Plymouth on September 8.  

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