Sheffield pupils dare you to keep staring

A picture from the #still_staring exhibition by photographer Joe Armitage

A picture from the #still_staring exhibition by photographer Joe Armitage

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A photographer has worked with a group of children at his son’s school to raise awareness of their difficult growing pains.

Joe Armitage teamed up with pupils at the RATS group at High Storrs in an effort to raise their self esteem and have some fun.

The 40-year-old, of Ecclesall, first heard about RATS - which stands for Raising Aspirations, Targeting Self Esteem - after his son Finn attended the group when he first moved up to high school.

Joe, of BoneShaker Photography, said: “This group helps break down barriers to learning and eases anxieties and difficulties throughout the transition process to ‘big school’ by boosting self-esteem and confidence.

“Finn was in the programme for 12 weeks and the difference it made to him was astounding. He was confident, had more friends, able to work harder and not feel as self conscious.”

Joe approached Nicola Walker, who runs the group, and together they arranged a photo shoot for the youngsters after school.

“I thought they might not want to have their photographs taken however the feedback was overwhelming,” said Joe.

“The collaboration started to produce a collection of still images that highlight the difficulties and hurdles young people face, but also capturing humour and sensitivity at the same time.”

The title of the collection of photographs is ‘#still_staring’ and it aims to raise awareness of a specific issue such as ADHD, eating disorders, self harm and bi-polar disorder.

The photos will be exhibited in the Somewhere Else coffee shop and bakery on Ecclesall Road, Banner Cross, until March 15.

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