The Work

Health and happiness depends on many different factors, some of which are more self-evident than others. These might include our physical and emotional environment, how connected we feel with others, how rewarding our work is, what our working conditions are as well as how strong our sense of purpose and belonging is.

This photo essay looks at some of the actions people take, as individuals or in groups, to improve their quality of life. For some that is socialising, for others it’s becoming more active or helping others. The project focuses on what people said made their lives feel better; the small things, the ordinary things. It looks at the beauty in those tiny moments, in those ordinary actions, offering an alternative vision from the usual fleeting glance. It celebrates the actions and initiatives that bring people together to connect and communicate on specific issues, while trying to understand the needs that these actions have arisen from.

Essentially, this photo essay makes an enquiry into what issues people face in their lives and in which creative ways they choose to address them. Most of the shoots have been created with independent and self-organised initiatives.

  • Henfield Cricket Club. Women’s training session. The team is based on the South Downs and is composed of women from diverse backgrounds with an average age of 47 – the youngest player is 15, the eldest 63.
  • “I worked almost every day for 12 to 15 hours. And business was not going well. I become completely insular and was in such a dark place that I would cross the road and not bother to look. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that I don’t know whether I’d be here today or not if my friend had not persuaded me to join her for training that afternoon.” - Kate, cricket player
  • Three Score Dance Company was created three years ago to offer contemporary dance opportunities for over 60s. There are 19 dancers at the present time, eight are men. No one has prior dance training but they collaborate with professional choreographers and their rehearsal director, Jason, is a professional dancer too.
  • The Sussex Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Centre is a charity run by a largely volunteer workforce and funded through donations and grants. They provide low-cost services for MS sufferers and those with other neurological conditions.

    The oxygen therapy is not a cure but seems to relieve the symptoms of the chronic fatigue caused by these conditions.

  • The Sussex Wheelchair Basketball Club has a league team, the Tigers. Two years ago, when the old team lost a lot of players, the coach worked hard to organise a new one, and thanks to the attention the Olympics brought to disabled sports, he succeeded.

    Most of the participants were new to the sport but have progressed a lot during this time. They train in Moulsecoomb.

  • “I become disabled three years ago and I spent a year doing nothing. But after that I decided I wanted to do a lot of sport. I’m also involved in archery and competitive swimming.” - Georgina, basketball player
  • After being quite ill Moira vowed to take better care of herself through regular breaks away from her desk during work hours. She has started hula hooping in her office and has been encouraging her colleagues to do the same during lunch breaks.
  • Able and Willing is a supported employer and is owned by Brighton & Hove City Council. They have 20 members of staff out of whom 90% have a disability.

    Recently two new people with a hearing impairment have joined the team and an interpreter has been brought in to give sign language lessons to the other employees, to enable basic communication and ensure safety in the workplace.

  • “It’s really tough to find employment in the UK at this time, especially if you have a disability.” - Jeffrey, manager
  • Brighton Swimming Club is one of the oldest of its kind to be founded in the UK. It has a high number of participants from a variety of backgrounds, some swim on a daily basis. They meet in the mornings to swim together, making the activity safer especially during the winter months.
  • Mad Hatters is a voluntary association with about eight volunteers, supported through donations and grants. Their activities include a weekly affordable lunch for all ages, monthly tea and scones for over 50s, a couple of organised trips a year and a Christmas dinner.

    They support people from different parts of the city and provide cheap transport to their events.

  • “We reach out to lonely, vulnerable, isolated people and try to tackle any mental health problems.” - Pauline, volunteer
  • Plot22 is based on an allotment site in Hove which hosts activities for groups and individuals of all ages and backgrounds based on the principles of Permaculture: ‘Earth care’, ‘People care’ and ‘Fair share’.
  • Social Ping is a project for over 65s that encourages people to play table tennis. This increases mobility and social interaction. There are four sessions per week in different locations and the project is hoping to expand with the help of more volunteers.
  • Every year a team composed of Council workers from different departments joins a beach volleyball competition. They also meet regularly in the evenings to play badminton together for fun.

    This year an extra incentive has been the Reaching Rio Challenge, an initiative which charts the team’s physical activity and converts it into miles in a virtual route to Rio.

  • “The Reaching Rio challenge has been so rewarding and beneficial and has certainly helped with stress levels in these difficult times. As a result we are all committed and determined not to go back to the old ways.” - Sue, participant
  • After being moved to a smaller office, with a great flow-through of people due to hot desking, Brighton Council employees have decided to green the space up, making it less anonymous and providing some spatial division. All the plants are either rescued or from cuttings so have incurred no costs.
  • ‘Sing for better health’ is a voluntary project dedicated to over 55s and people with long-term health conditions. It started as an NHS run programme for people with breathing difficulties and then broadened into what it is now. Six weekly groups are held, with an attendance of between 10 and 40 participants.
  • Sam, long time athlete with a lot of marathons under his belt, runs a free weekly training session for ‘ordinary joggers’ at Withdean Stadium. The sessions are very well attended and anyone is free to join.
  • Healthwalks is an initiative run by Brighton & Hove City Council and is supported by volunteers. Every day of the week a volunteer leads the participants on a different route – they vary according to length, gradient and location.

    Most of the participants are pensioners and some of the walks are accessible or family friendly. The guided walks are all free of charge.

  • Valentina Quintano: Health and Happiness at the Sussex County Cricket Club Valentina Quintano: Health and Happiness at the Sussex County Cricket Club
  • Valentina Quintano: Health and Happiness at the Sussex County Cricket Club Valentina Quintano: Health and Happiness at the Sussex County Cricket Club
  • Valentina Quintano: Health and Happiness at the Sussex County Cricket Club Valentina Quintano: Health and Happiness at the Sussex County Cricket Club
  • Valentina Quintano: Health and Happiness at the Sussex County Cricket Club Valentina Quintano: Health and Happiness at the Sussex County Cricket Club
  • Valentina Quintano: Health and Happiness at the Sussex County Cricket Club Valentina Quintano: Health and Happiness at the Sussex County Cricket Club
  • Valentina Quintano: Health and Happiness at the Sussex County Cricket Club Valentina Quintano: Health and Happiness at the Sussex County Cricket Club
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The Photographer

Valentina Quintano

Valentina Quintano is an Italian freelance photographer based in London. She has been working since 2007 when she was the staff photographer of a regional magazine focussed on social affairs. She works mostly within the editorial market but also with performance photography, events, portraiture, news. Her personal reportage projects try to investigate the different aspects of human nature and ‘being human’ with an intimate, curious and open-minded approach.

She attended an International Semester of Photojournalism at the Danish School of Media and Journalism in 2009 and graduated with distinction from London College of Communication, MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography in 2010.

Her images have been published in various magazines and newspapers, including: British Journal of Photography, Sunday Times Magazine, L’Espresso, Ojodepez, Psychologies Magazine UK, il Reportage, Vice, TimeOut London, La Repubblica, Left, Il Giornalista.

Her work has been also featured in four books and various exhibitions in the UK, Italy and Canada. She has been selected as a finalist in international competitions such as the Ian Parry Scholarship, the Magenta Flash Forward 2013, the Lucie Foundation Scholarship and Ojodepez. She has also been artist in residence at R.E.D. in Norway and Trasparesidenze in Italy.




Photographer Approach

The health and happiness principle talks of ‘five ways to wellbeing’: connect, be active, take notice, keep learning, give. The actualisation of these terms has been the starting point for my research. My approach to the commission started from the necessary step of asking myself what ‘health and happiness’ means. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs points at human ‘realisation’ being linked with fulfilment of physiological needs first, then safety (body, employment, resources, health) and then belonging/love, esteem and self-actualisation. I was asked to document what I felt fulfilled the principle in Brighton & Hove. I thought the best way to do it was to ask the question back to the people in the area. This photo essay is the result. I made a ‘call’ for ideas through intranets and different media but mostly I worked via word-of-mouth. I asked people directly what they thought made little differences both in improving their work environment and their overall quality of life.

This project does not look at health and happiness per se, nor solves the question of what that means, but rather it concentrates on little elements that different people have highlighted to be a part of the picture. Far from being an answer, this essay tries to give elements of reflection starting from the personal, the intimate. It collects voices, it collects ideas.

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The exhibition

Exhibition Info

Dates: 01/10/2014 - 31/07/2015
Times: Access 24/7
Address: Sussex County Cricket Club, County Ground, Eaton Road, Hove, BN3 3AN
Link: Link

Sussex County Cricket Club

Taking part in regular activity has been proven to greatly increase your physical and mental wellbeing. Here at Sussex County Cricket Club we know how great taking part in a sport can make you feel and we are ambassadors for promoting this feel good message to the wider Sussex community. Our partnership with FotoDocument is a great opportunity to talk about the wider benefits sport can bring and together with the One Planet Living photo essays we can promote the message of Health and Happiness and show the direct links to this principle from regular exercise.

Sussex Cricket in the Community, the new initiative from Sussex Cricket, uses the power and benefits that cricket can bring to encourage healthier, fulfilling lives through providing an access point to activity for anyone regardless of age, gender, ability or location and we also want to show that cricket can offer an alternative access to learning and education.

Access Information

How to get there:

Closest train station: Hove

Closest buses: 7, 20, 93

Cycle: racks nearby

Car: parking available

Wheelchair accessible: yes


One Planet City: Professional Commissions

Ten photo essays responding to the ten sustainability principles of One Planet Living with ten site-specific installations in public spaces across Brighton & Hove.