Our Real Utopias

Here is our photographic showcase featuring 30 creatives from the Wellbeing Hub at Preston Park, (formerly known as Preston Park Recovery Centre) Brighton's only 7 day a week Mental health and Wellbeing service offering building-based groups, IT support, and a cafe, as well as activities in the community. In this exhibition we aim to to respond to the Real Utopias theme with images that celebrate the magical moments that have our captured attention and imagination in the natural world and the meaningful things around us. These photos represent moments of mindful connection, reflection and wonder, of slowing down and taking notice. At the hub we aim to link what we do into the NHS 5 Ways to Wellbeing, which are 'Connect with other people, Be physically active, Learn new skills, Give to others, and Pay attention to the present moment (mindfulness). Photography is a great way to lean into mindfulness and also retain poignant memories that we can look back on with fondness and feel comforted on our darker days.

Just Justine

I love spending time on the beach looking at endless variations of pebbles! To me, it seems like the pebbles in the photo have mouths, I just needed to add some eyes to bring them to life! I enjoy the simplicity of it and I find them amusing! I love how much character each has and how different people interpret their expressions!

Blossoms bursting
Laura Allen-Morgan

Blossoms bursting Warm edged air Skin Pale I am alive Adur River, May 2022.

Take flight
Sean Duffield

"I find being in contact with nature one of the most soothing and rewarding experiences there is. In challenging times if has helped my soul lift out of depression and to take flight. There's a kindness to it. And kindness in humanity would be my 'real utopia' - a shift towards caring for each other more, and caring and protecting other forms of life. A society thats puts real value into that which exists, protecting habitats and environments, whether it be a local community, or complex eco-systems where everything plays it's part, like this Cinnabar Moth. If we humans could 'take flight' from destructive and self-destructive habits and values, then maybe we'd land back down to earth and take our place in the symbiotic scheme of things."

Top of Wild Park
Saskia Grundmann

Bedouin children
Diane Eldridge

These are Bedouin children who suddenly appeared from nowhere whilst walking in the Israeli desert with my Uncle and a group from his Kibbutz nearly 40 years ago. It’s one of my favourite photographs - been in the cupboard for donkey’s years! Strange to think they are now grown-up!

Take me to the clouds
Fran Aeillo

This photo is really special to me as it was just taken on a random day with my daughter Bluebell down on the beach. The clouds take me away into a magical place, they look amazing and I get lost in my thoughts looking at them, they look like a magical kingdom.

Trees in winter

I like the silhouette of the trees in the November gloom!

Heaven come down
Rosa Vines

This photograph makes me think of Heaven descending down and covering Earth in a calming blanket of Peace, Love and Light. It makes me feel hopeful in times that are overwhelmingly bleak

View of knitted hats
Mary Harding

Spending time being productive knitting hats for charity - my utopia

Bin bag dreamers
H. Williams

I captured this movement of freedom on a day trip to Devil's Dyke several years ago then digitally layered several other photos to make a composite image. The additional images include an inflatable immersive space made entirely from bin bags. I would like to share with you the reason why I made an inflatable immersive space made entirely from bin bags but I cannot remember!

Arch with doorway
Mark Kelsall

I chose this photo because it’s the first of a new series using 35mm black and white film that expresses my love for Brighton and its buildings & artefacts. It it also my statement against the modern trend of capturing photographs in ever more detail and sharpness with punched out colours. Photo taken with a Minolta Dynax 7 SLR, 50mm f1.4 lens and Rollei infrared film. Developed in Bellini monobath developer.

The blue orb effect

My Mother s Spirit is forever with me. The photo of Mom’s butterfly on Brighton Beach and was soon after Mom s death. I was comforted by the blue Orb that appeared after taking photo! I was thinking of the butterfly effect.

Lush leaf
Caroline Carter

This image represents such a feeling to me of the vibrancy and energy of a simple leaf. The veins, usually unnoticed, indicated a life force that is intelligent and beautiful

May Blossom
Caroline Watson

The Clematis Montana is always in full bloom in May. It is an indicator that summer is on its way.

Autumn colours from the allotments
Anna Bellamy

Nature is beautiful

Rudbeckia with surprise visitors
Barbara Watkinson

Filled me with joy!

My 3 Favourite Lawn Mowers
Emily Fell

Utopia is time spent with animals. Immersing yourself in their world is good for the sole. I get so much enjoyment from watching their funny antics and love it when they give me little nudges to say hello.

Mute Swans
Patrick Ward

Widewater Lagoon, near Shoreham. I spend a lot of time in nature and photography is one of the ways I connect with it. This swan couple have been together for many years and have raised many cygnets together.

Autumnal Grasses a Uthopia for wildlife
E. G. Kore

Whilst on a mindfulness walk last autumn , I was struck by the beauty of the grasses in Dyke Road park.  the variety of colours a spectacular display of nature. I took this photo on my phone , it has not had any filter put on it.  A mindfulness walk is for me an opportunity to slow my racing mind down, to focus in on the details of my surroundings and look for the beauty around me ,to connect with my soul and to take the time to appreciate all the splendour nature offers us.

One of the team

I always find nature so healing. Especially observing the bees, and other creatures, purposefully going about their business keeping our ecosystem working. Where would we be without them? Thank you to all the team members, whatever your species.


I took this photo in the rockery which is one of my favourite places in Brighton

Visiting seal (taken in Torquay)
Zara Nolan

I don't visit zoos because sadly I think profit and consumer enjoyment is put above the welfare of the animals. Therefore I love the opportunity to see animals in the wild. I have seen seals in the wild a number of times and they are incredibly friendly and curious about humans. In this instance 3 of them swam right up to the jetty, just to watch us for a bit.

Amazing auroras
Zorenah Chapman

I was so surprised and privileged to see this amazing sight in Iceland

Jackie Lawson

Beautiful blue

Inspired by my wild, left to nature, front garden

A day out in St James's Park
Jenny Ortega

Alive and Wriggly
Ali Reeves

I was so thrilled to find this brittle star on the beach in east Brighton, I’m always sad when things are stranded after a storm, but here I was, to return it safely to the sea, and there it was, making my day, showing me it was still alive with its strong wriggly arms. I had no idea that these little not-at-all-brittle creatures could be found so close to shore. This brief encounter with my multi-legged friend made my mood a little less brittle and renewed my hope for biodiversity in Sussex waters. To learn more and get involved in exploring beneath the sea surface, visit Sussex Underwater or Sussex Seabed Restoration Group on Facebook

My dream
Tanya Nimmo

I love dolphins. They are just so therapeutic, beautiful and loving. I’ve always loved them and have two dolphin tattoos.


Florence Road Cafe
Florence Rd,

6–29 October

Tuesday 08:30–16:00
Wednesday 08:30–16:00
Thursday 08:30–16:00
Friday 08:30–16:00
Saturday 08:30–16:00