What makes a good photo? What ethics do we need to consider? What stories do we want to tell?

We were delighted to join up with the fantastic Becky Duncan at Open Aye to run a series of photography workshops in Glasgow. Open Aye has been working with social enterprises, charities and community groups since 2010 to provide photography, videos and participatory photo projects.

We shared the project with community groups around Glasgow and were joined by seven participants, some of whom had photography and filmmaking experience, and others who were excited to learn some new skills.

“This was one of my favourite days in Scotland.”

Our first workshop took place in the beautiful surroundings of Pollok Park, on a chilly winter day. The Pony Club was decorated with beautiful photographs from across the world, and we looked at how to tell a story through a series of inspirational photo essays. After a delicious lunch provided by Milk Café, we headed out into the park for a photo walk, exploring how to tell the story of our walk and playing with different angles and environments.

The following week we were back at Pollok Park. One of the participants, who is currently setting up her own business, had requested a workshop on product photography, so we asked everyone to bring meaningful objects with them to photograph. Becky brought studio lights and boxes and we had a fun session capturing the stories of our objects. We also discussed the process of being out and about “on the job”, before going back out into the park for another photo walk. The group suggested that we move to a different venue the following week, as many of them were new to Glasgow and wanted to explore more of the city.

On week 3, we met at the Glad Café where we were inspired by a collection of images by pioneering photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson. We split into pairs and posed for photos around the café, inspired by his use of lines and composition and the decisive moment. We then explored ethical considerations when capturing photos of people – who should take the photo, what should they show, what are your rights as a subject and as a photographer, before heading out into Queens Park for our photo walk.

Our workshops were then cut short by a new Covid strain, so it took some time for us to meet again. We finally reconvened in the spring, after Ramadan, at South Block. Here we once again were inspired by photographs from around the world, before delving deep into a discussion about consent, ethical considerations, GDPR and legal obligations, and how charities use/should use photographs. Afterwards, we went together to an exhibition at Street Level Photoworks before visiting Merchant City Cameras.

The workshops were an opportunity for participants to learn, practice and share photography skills and best practice, to combat isolation, meet new people and – an added extra – to discover new parts of their new city and connect with Glasgow’s green spaces.

Following the workshops, we will be working with Open Aye to create a best practice photography guide for working with new Scots communities.


This project is part funded by the EU Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund. Making management of migration flows more efficient across the European Union.

Chris Afuakwah
Author: Chris Afuakwah