Everything Else

U3A Case Study: Angela

I joined U3A in 2016 as I was approaching retirement and running my work down. I was truly grateful for the opportunity for some structured transition to having lots of space and time.

I was drawn to Worcester U3A, because it has a tremendous number and diversity of activities, and in particular it had a line-dancing group. I took to line-dancing wonderfully, graduating from the beginners to a slightly more advanced group, within weeks.. For years I’d wanted to do line-dancing so this was fantastic. The line-dancing group has now gone onto zoom – imagine that!

I have had so much fun and made so many lovely connections with people. Other highlights have been taking part in French, Mindfulness and Meditation, croquet and bridge groups.

And now I come to photography at Worcester U3A. There are 3 groups and I, along with my husband, are members of 2 of them. One of these groups has weekly or fortnightly themed photo projects to which we’ve enjoyed making regular contributions, and this has motivated me to be active with my photography. All three groups have been meeting and sharing photography on zoom.

U3A Eye has been remarkable for me. John has more photography skills than me so can advise me sometimes and I seem to have discovered a creative side I never knew I had. I’ll take photos of anything, sometimes they don’t give much joy, but then there are those that amaze, and those that open a new world.

My lockdown photographic adventure began, early on. I was sitting out on my comfy lounger and I took photographs for hours. I took photos in focus and deliberately out of focus, and was thrilled by the discovery of the images I was seeing. I noticed the way the light played and added luminosity to leaves and flowers, and delighted in the blurry background I could produce, sometimes bright and sometimes very dark and dramatic. I fell in love with this aspect of nature and the images I could create, and my camera. And now my camera goes everywhere with me.

U3A Eye has opened up the next step for me as it has unleashed creativity, and not just in photography. I’ve experimented in all kinds of ways, producing images for the challenges each fortnight. It has also been lovely to have had the feedback of my photos being appreciated and enjoyed when they have been selected to be among the 15 posted on the website – what a privilege.

Oh, and I almost forgot to say there is now a tradition in my house – when there’s a collection of photos to “show” we set aside an afternoon and have a jug of sangria – well, when you can’t use your camera in Portugal ….

Having reflected whilst writing this piece, I find myself wanting to thank all the U3A group leaders who have contributed so much to me – there have been so many. And I don’t forget those who support and organise for them, and of course the other members.

Photo: Angela’s submission for U3A Eye, Shadows. See the gallery here.

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