Respect is a term we often hear but sometimes don't fully understand. What does it mean to respect someone? To treat someone as a figure of authority? To treat them as we wish to be treated? To simply treat them kindly? Perhaps even a combination of all three. Adrika, Jada, and Paul question this term in the photo-series Respecting Ourselves and Others, using photography as a tool to illustrate the ways we show respect and why respect is important.

"I drew this picture because I respect myself. I show respect to myself by following healthy habits and doing what I like" - Jada.

The session opened with a discussion about figures we respect and how we show respect to them. The young people agreed that while it is important we respect others, it is also equally important that we show respect to ourselves. We can do this by treating ourselves kindly: resting when we are tired, taking time to appreciate our hobbies, and recognising when we work hard. 

In the second half of the session we photographed people we respect and spoke about some of the reasons why we respect these people. The young people tended to respect those who took the time to listen to them and view the world from their perspective.

"The reason why I chose [this photo of] Maja is because I liked the background and it wasn't too much of a busy one either. I respect her because she is always there for me and she respects me" - Adrika.

"The reason why I chose [this particular photo of] Saarah is because she posed and the lighting and focus was spot on. I respect her because she has my back and gives me the best advice" - Adrika.

For Adrika, respect meant to treat someone with kindness and understanding. She illustrated this in her photographs by focusing on individuals who treated her in this way. She wanted to capture their personalities in each photograph and show their kindness.

"This is a picture of Maja and Naz, I show them my respect by talking to them and listening to them if they need anything" - Jada.

"I took a picture of Ruby, I show her my respect by listening to her and she respects me by teaching me how to use cameras and photograph" - Jada.

"This is a picture of two staff working and talking at Spotlight. I respect them by treating them nicely because they work hard for us" - Jada.

For Jada, respect was tied to feelings of admiration and a sense of authority. Jada's photographs center on individuals who hold authority such as Spotlight support workers. 

Photos by Paul

Focused on his peers, Paul's photos highlight the importance of treating our friends with respect, not just those in charge. We can show respect to others by actively listening to them, especially when they are talking about something they are passionate about. 

This project was produced as a collaboration between Spotlight and Headliners (UK) by Adrika, Jada, and Paul.
Thank you to the Edward Gostling Foundation for making these sessions possible.