A pop-up exhibition of photography by recovering addicts is about to hit the streets of Blackpool. I first heard about the photographer Len Grant at LeftCoast’s Golden Section. He is a photographer who has experience telling the stories of the socially excluded and vulnerable and has featured in the Guardian.

Len is currently working on a project with Jobs, Friends and Houses whose aim is to sustain individuals in abstinent recovery. The majority of employees in recovery are able to train and work within building development projects with success in renovation and sales of property, creating a profitable and sustainable business.

I have been really lucky to assist Len on photography workshops, turning employees from Jobs, Friends and Houses into budding photographers through guided basic photography training and street and portrait photography of strangers, demonstrating how photography can be used as tool to build confidence and encourage a new way to see the world, through the lens.

This Thursday 2 April, photographs by the group, of strangers from Blackpool and the Showzam! Festival, will be displayed on the railings of Blackpool Central Library. This new and diverse arts project is partnered with social enterprise Jobs, Friends and Houses and supported by LeftCoast, Blackpool and Wyre’s Creative People and Places Programme.

Photographer Len Grant says: “The Back in Focus photography project has been designed to show these lads a new way of seeing and to interact with people in a positive and creative way. I’ve been impressed with their enthusiasm and the quality of the work they have produced from scratch. I hope they can see themselves now as contributors to their communities.”

Len Grant Workshops

“We’ve been talking to different people around town and telling them about our project,” says 42-year-old Terry, a long-term drug abuser who has been in recovery for over a year. “Having the camera around your neck gives you confidence and over the last few weeks I’ve spoken to lots of new people. I can’t wait to put up the exhibition, it’ll be good to show our work to the rest of Blackpool.”

Steve Hodgkins, CEO of Jobs, Friends and Houses, says: “Redemption or throw away the key? That is the question for society and Blackpool. Do we believe that people should have a chance or should we lock them up? Our team used to cost society thousands of pounds now they pay taxes and positively contribute! This project allows us to show the power and potential of recovery. I am so proud that Blackpool is leading the way.”

Back in Focus is supported by LeftCoast, Blackpool and Wyre’s Creative People and Places Programme, through the Future Popular mini commissions scheme, open to artists in the area who want to engage with communities.

Back in Focus will be displayed on the railings outside Blackpool Central Library on Queen Street from Thursday 2 April and will stay in place over the Easter weekend. The exhibition will be accompanied by a special newspaper featuring the whole project which will be given away by the photographers to viewers of the exhibitions on Thursday.

Len Grant Workshops

Header image courtesy of Len Grant.

Images within text courtesy of Claire Griffiths.


Reclaim Blackpool - Mapping Sexual Harrasment
  • Show Comments (0)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

comment *

  • name *

  • email *

  • website *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

You May Also Like

Grand Theatre Artwork

Curtain up on a Grand show of quirky art

This autumn, the Grand Theatre’s Stage Door Cafe Bar is being artfully transformed into ...

Silver Linings: Aestas jewellery

When Lewis Farley was forced to close Plant Skatepark it was a blow to ...

Things are heating up for Smartarts

A little while ago, I was invited to accompany a group of artists to ...