Snap happy ... Excited to see their work on display at the Forrester Gallery are photographers (from left) Luke Acheson (15), Amanda Acheson, Ky Proctor (19), Erin Brown, Isabella Martin (17), Ivy Tepper (14) and Johnny Martin (12). PHOTO: RUBY HEYWARD

Oamaru youth are taking a shot at photography.

The Forrester Gallery’s new exhibition Through the Lensdisplays the imagination of a group of budding young photographers who have been learning to capture the world around them.

The group was established by North Otago Youth Centre manager Amanda Acheson after her son Luke showed an interest in photography.

“Photography is a vehicle for building community between a bunch of different people,” Mrs Acheson said.

During a 10-week programme, they had sessions with professional photographers, completed self-directed tasks to apply what they had learnt and went on group outings.

However, there was more to it than heading out and taking a photo.

Group member Isabella Martin said a photo could express a “certain perspective and emotion to show others how you are feeling”.

Luke liked how photos could capture a memory, in a way that a verbal retelling could not.

Even changing the angle of the lens could change the photo’s feeling completely, he said.

Waitaki Girls’ High School photography teacher Erin Brown, who is helping Mrs Acheson facilitate the programme, said it was exciting when people came together to share ideas.

“To see young people get on board, they bring an extra life and excitement to it,” she said.

“It’s cool to see their stamp on what’s around us.”

The young photographers all got a buzz out of seeing their work displayed at the gallery.

They were all hooked on the art, and member Ky Proctor even wanted to dedicate his career to it.

Mr Proctor wanted to prove that photography could be more than just a hobby.

Before the programme began, none of the nine members knew each other. But even though their photography classes were over they planned meet monthly to share their work.

Through the Lens is on display until May 30.