1 Mad Idea
Alex Mausolf, the founder of Happy Snappers Adelaide has a lived experience of complex mental health challenges in his life. Digital photography has allowed Alex the opportunity to experience Mindfulness regularly & easily, it has also been a huge part of his journey to recovery. Sharing this experience of well-being with others is a driving passion for Alex. That there be true equity of access to this activity for all people is important to him & so it is delivered outside of the NDIS.
Alex has a past history of providing training through WEA & TAFESA adult community education units.
Alex is a Social Innovator, a Lived Experience Representative for SAHLN, & he was an invited speaker about the unique Happy Snappers initiative at the 2018 TheMHS Mental Health Conference. He is a vocal & active activist for better mental health treatment & rights for those living with mental health challenges in their lives through a variety of mental health advisory panels, bodies & social movements.
Alex is accompanied & supported by his large & friendly Assistance Dog in-training at all possible times. She is under a year old & is going through formal training to become his publicly accredited Assistance Animal. This process is an ongoing one.
Alex is also an accredited Standard Mental Health First Aider, something that all workplaces & community groups should have on hand. The lovely Happy Snappers Adelaide volunteer bus driver, Michelle, is also a Mental Health First Aider!
In the establishing stages, the focus on offering this unique & voluntary service solely to those that experience mental health challenges shifted to offering & delivering this to the broader community as a regular well-being activity & immersion in Nature, in conjunction with some gentle social interaction. Interestingly enough though, it turns out that most all of the participants identified in their own way as living with various aspects of mental health challenges or experiences in their own lives!
Simple guidance in the use of a digital camera can allow the user the ability to experience mindful photography, leaving the world, its intrusions & distractions behind as they immerse themselves in observation, exploration & stillness. Through the use of a digital camera, you are given a myriad of opportunities to express yourself visually. Things like being able to select how much of an image is in focus, how the light will play on the scene or object, the ability to zoom in on something, & much more is offered by a controllable digital camera. These are things that a mobile phone can not really offer. Studies have shown that this is an easily accessed state of being through the use of a camera. Alex has cited some studies & web postings about this on the (About) “Benefits” page.
Sharing his passion, enjoyment and excitement for photography through simple explorations of many techniques, styles & methods will surprise the participants in what they can achieve even if they have never picked up a camera before in their lives! Nurturing this learning & exploration of photography within the participants is assisted through the use of a broad range of cameras & equipment, with them ranging from full-on DSLR’s to the smaller & much lighter Micro-Four-Thirds format cameras. There’s a camera for every need that could be experienced, from poor eyesight & limited dexterity to chronic body movement, all of these situations can easily be overcome through the use of the right type of camera for the participants. Working from a tripod, for example, with assistance in framing up subjects or landscapes & in the camera’s operation allows all participants to achieve their photographic goals, regardless of physical limitations.
Inside activities are arranged easily & quickly if poor weather is too big a challenge to head outside, such as when it’s too hot or too wet.
With a past history of delivering adult community education training through organisations such as the Adelaide WEA & TAFESA in combination with having experienced mental health recovery assisted greatly by photography, Alex is passionate about sharing this wellness activity & creative exploration with others in simple & easy to digest ways.
- To provide an easy & safe exploration through digital photography, allowing the experience of Mindfulness.
- To act ethically, honestly & with the utmost integrity towards the participant at all times.
- To make accessible & create opportunities for Mindful experiences through digital photography regardless of financial ability or constraint.
- To provide the opportunity for individuals to learn about & participate in digital photography, even if they do not have the potential to possibly own any photographic equipment.
- To be known & respected as a driving & innovative force for the promotion of beneficial & meaningful experiences through digital photography.
- To build & foster a community & culture of like minded people.
- To be involved in & create a positive impact within local communities.
- To enable personal growth, learning, self improvement, & positive change whenever possible through the above.