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Gear

There are now five DSLR’s & three different Micro-Four-Thirds cameras again, thanks to the generosity of an English supporter of the Happy Snappers initiative replacing one of the M43 cameras that was accidentally broken by a participant.

We finally have a roller-bag for all the camera gear to be easily transported in! More lenses are slowly being accumulated.

Thanks to a donation, we now also have some large portrait lights, stands & soft-boxes. These were utilised at the Hackham West Community Centre’s Christmas event, where we were able to create free family portraits that were then emailed to the families for them to use however they wanted to.

 


 
Some of the cameras


The other lenses available to the participants, enabling them to be able to further explore their imagery. The ultimate plan is to have telephoto lenses and macro lenses for all of the cameras.

For the Canon cameras:

  • Canon 40mm f/2.8
  • Canon 50mm f/1.8
  • Canon 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 Macro
  • Canon 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6
  • Canon 90-300mm f/4.5-56
 For the Pentax camera:
  • Pentax 28mm f/2.8
  • Pentax 50mm f/2
  • Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Macro
  • Pentax 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6

For the Micro-Four-Thirds cameras:

  • Fujian 35mm f/1.7
  • Fujian 40mm f/1.8


A huge shout-out & thanks has to go to the Onkaparinga Seaside Walk for World Suicide Prevention Day, put on by the Seaford Rotary Club for their generosity in providing us with the roller-bag to finally be able to get all of the gear to the groups sessions. This means that the participants can now explore & play with more lenses than just the one for each camera, that I was previously limited to, as I could only carry one backpack with me!

As an exchange of energies, Happy Snappers Adelaide provided the event photographers for this important initiative, which can be viewed in the (Helping) “Community” section of this site.

I look forward to this being an on-going opportunity for many years to come, enabling the participants to have a go at some event photography for an extremely worthy local cause.

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Origins

In late 2016, Alex through the amazing assistance of his supportive, nurturing and empowering PHaMS (Personal Helpers & Mentors Scheme) worker, created a weekly photography group in conjunction with a mental health NGO. It initially started as a simple thing, with the participants just using their mobile-phones. As time went on however, it became evident that those participants wanted the ability to use digital cameras, to enable them to explore their imagery further, but due to overwhelmingly low socio-economic means for them, that wasn’t possible. Alex had an idea, being the Social Innovator that he is! He reached out to his photography cohorts around the world and asked if they could spare some equipment or financial donations, so as to allow others that couldn’t afford it otherwise, the opportunity to explore digital photography as a regular wellness and social inclusion activity. The results were overwhelming! Within a few weeks, Alex had four cameras and lenses for them! Getting the participants to be able to use them proved to be an insurmountable obstacle however, as Alex was turned away from the mental health NGO, with them refusing him the ability to share his equipment with the participants. So much for the promised “co-design” and “evolving” ability for the group to become something the participants wanted, as the NGO promoted so heavily in their marketing materials!

Traumatised, dejected and without access to the one activity that was keeping him well, Alex withdrew into himself, isolating himself from the world, punishing himself for even trying to make a difference. After all, if the NGO saw Alex’s socially minded efforts as the actions of a troublemaker, formally requesting that he stay away from the one thing that was helping him live well, they must have been correct. Right?

If it had not been for the eternal assistance of his loving partner, and the incredible insights from his Psychotherapist, Alex would have kept believing this. Getting to a point of being able to see beyond the traumatic experience he had been subjected to sparked a new-found determination to take this simple idea of Mindfulness as achieved through the use of a digital camera out to the greater world at large. It was so easy in fact, that it was a complete shock that other community centre’s opened their doors and hearts to this grass-roots idea of wellness for all to be able to have access to. Alex arranged for there to be sessions held in a couple of locations, three times a week. A local Community Health organisation came to the party by assisting him with the use of their Public Liability cover to start off with. A community centre took him on as a volunteer and assisted with a venue, and transport, through the use of their minibus and volunteer drivers. Another community centre allowed him the use of their space for gratis!

Deciding to make a stand against the sort of bullying and denial of access to service that he received, Alex is now very actively involved with advocating for better treatment and respect of individuals that live with mental health challenges in their lives, through a broad range of groups, panels and movements. He is a lived experience representative on panels that influence change for better mental health outcomes. He has some huge dreams for those living with mental health challenges in the Southern suburbs of Adelaide, where he resides!

It is Alex’s hope that through this sharing of the evolution of Happy Snappers as an overcoming of what seemed to be the impossible to achieve, that it may in some way inspire others to follow their dreams to fruition, regardless of what people or organisations may present as seemingly impossible obstacles along the way.

Dream big, think laterally, don’t be scared to reach out & ask for assistance when you need it, keep going even when you’re told “NO!” & reach for the stars! Know that you can do it!

About Us

 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!

 

 

 
 
 

 

Overview

 


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.

 
 

 

Our Values:


  1. To provide an easy & safe exploration through digital photography, allowing the experience of Mindfulness.
  2. To act ethically, honestly & with the utmost integrity towards the participant at all times.
  3. To make accessible & create opportunities for Mindful experiences through digital photography regardless of financial ability or constraint.
  4. 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.
  5. To be known & respected as a driving & innovative force for the promotion of beneficial & meaningful experiences through digital photography.
  6. To build & foster a community & culture of like minded people.
  7. To be involved in & create a positive impact within local communities.
  8. To enable personal growth, learning, self improvement, & positive change whenever possible through the above.