Health and Happiness - Valentina Quintano

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.

Essay 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.

Exhibition info

01/10/2014 and 31/07/2015 at the Sussex County Cricket Club, County Ground, Eaton Road, Hove, BN3 3AN

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.