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Seeing youth happy using photography | Pinehouse Lake

It was years ago Sharon Maurice Natomagan picked up her first camera. I think it was a Polaroid” Sharon says, “it was when I was about 12 years old when I first discovered photography”. After discovering how to take pictures, Sharon fell in love with it. “My pictures are everything to me” Sharon says, “taking pictures helped me get through some difficult times in my life.”

A lot has changed since then.

Now digital cameras make it so much easier for the youth to go out and use the cameras. We don’t need to develop the pictures like we had to back in the day says Sharon. "They basically can go out and take as many pictures a they want".

The local photography club in town offers free cameras and equipment including a studio space for youth to sit down, talk about why they took the pictures they did, and edit them together.

Sharon works at the Pinehouse Health Centre as a Public Health Educator and is currently one of six people on the board of directors for the Pinehouse Photography Club. “Using photography really helped me get through some tuff times when I was a kid so I can relate to what some of the youth might be going through” Sharon says. “Helping kids now with therapeutic photography really makes me feel good”.

Sharon and one of her colleague’s from the Pinehouse Health Clinic, Verna Iron, recently took a group of 13 youth from the photography club to Meadow lake aquatic center as a token of appreciation for their hard work. “Things like this happen because of people who support the club and donate” Sharon says. Sharon says she plans on doing more with the youth and the club and has even offered her cabin for youth retreats in the summers. “Seeing these kids happy with smiles on their face is really rewarding” Sharon adds.

The Pinehouse Photography Club uses therapeutic photography to help youth heal from trauma. The club uses it to help prevent mental health problems by using the camera as a tool for the youth to see beauty in life.

For more information, you can follow them on their Facebook group or their website.