SMCC features in a new book on Photography


Catherine North’s latest book Through a Lens Brightly: how photography improves mental health illustrates how the mentoring programme at South Manchester Camera Club works as a positive case study.



Catherine is interested in the connection between creativity and wellbeing.  From her own personal experience, the stories from the 600 plus respondents to a survey she compiled, and the case study from SMCC she is able to draw compelling conclusions about the value of photography in wellbeing.

97% of her respondents experienced improvements in mood and wellbeing from practising photography with 77% gaining significant improvement, either ‘a lot’ or ‘life-changing’.  Catherine concludes that although this effect was somewhat stronger in people who also reported having a mental health condition, it was evident from the data she collected that photography not only has therapeutic benefits for people with a mental health diagnosis but can also play a role in keeping everyone mentally healthy and flourishing.

The mentoring programme at SMCC bears this out.  It was set up at the beginning of 2023 and since then participants have reported positively on the enjoyment and wellbeing they have experienced from taking part in the photo opportunities offered by the special interest groups: Basic Skills, Landscape, Macro, Portrait and Urban.  Increased social connection was a key outcome for many: 


“The interest groups help me to de-stress, and more importantly to socialise with like-minded people (in photography).”


“It builds friendships that may never have happened without the groups.”


Through a Lens Brightly is studded with amazing atmospheric photographs taken by Catherine and some of her respondents.  It is a book you can dip into again and again.  In her Final Reflections chapter Catherine pulls together the results of her survey with some staggering statistics about the powerful psychological benefits of picking up a camera and looking through a lens brightly.



Catherine is a writer, photographer and has been a member of SMCC since 2016.  She is the author of The Beauty of Broken Things, a novel which tells the story of two people with mental health difficulties who fall in love. 

To learn more about Catherine’s work visit and if you are interested in joining the Club, here is some further information on our Join The Club page.