Pose and Play

What happens when children take control of the camera in a nursery photo session?

Chapeltown Community Nursery organised a community photoshoot with photographer Jonathan Turner, welcoming community members to come and have a professional studio portrait and take “Posh Selfie” portraits of themselves. The nursery also ran a workshop for preschool children to participate in a photography “treasure hunt” and the process of making cyanotypes, during which they learned basic photography skills and how analogue photographs are developed. 

Please enjoy looking at what has resulted and let us know at the end whether you think children or professional photographers take better pictures!


Our nursery as a photography studio

What happens when families are given a Shutter Release and choose when to take a photo


Our nursery as a dark room

We hand developed these photographs together!


Photography Treasure Hunt

(What happens when children are given a camera and asked to look for treasure!)

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Exploring Cyanotypes

A photographic printing process that produces a cyan-blue print. Used by engineers into the 20th century these have been a low-cost way to make copies of drawings, referred to as blueprints.

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This art project, sharing our playful and caring community, was made possible by funding from Leeds Inspired.

What inspired us to create this project?

In recent years our nursery, like many education settings, has employed a photography firm to visit and take standardised pictures of our children and staff. In addition to the high cost of purchasing this kind of photograph, our families and trustees of the nursery felt there could be a more fun alternative that highlighted our personalities.

In the context of the global pandemic, where many people haven’t left their home area, we wanted to bring our community together safely in an engaging activity. We understand the impact of the pandemic on parents and essential workers but also on artists and wanted to provide work for a professional photographer whilst minimising costs to families. Leeds Inspired were able to help us by covering the costs of a photographer's time such as to plan and run these sessions. 

With this photography project, we were inspired by Gerald Donne Photography, a portrait photographer on Chapeltown Road whose work featured in the recent exhibitions of Eulogy and Back to Life by the Jamaica Society. We also took inspiration from Birmingham’s Handsworth Self-Portrait project, devised by Derek Bishton, Brian Homer and the late John Reardon. 

As a community nursery, we aim to work with local people and organisations building strong relationships. During a call-out for ideas on different approaches to our usual activities, we identified Jonathan Turner​, a freelance photographer, artist and parent based in our local community. His previous work Street Studio perfectly captured what we were looking for.

If you liked this exhibition, please click the links above to see similar work.

“We aim for this to be an opportunity to not only strengthen connections in our community in Chapeltown after the restrictions but also to have a positive start to 2021 and create something that we can share with loved ones -all those people we have seen less or haven’t seen at all.”

Sarah Killoran, Nursery Manager. 

This exhibition will be available online until 30th June 2021. These images cannot be used without the expressed permission of the copyright owners. Please do not reproduce, publish or distribute these images without permission.


Contact Us

If you have any feedback for our photographer or the team that put this project together we would love to hear it.

Thanks for submitting!