Helen Baly is our new photographer in residence in Horatio’s Garden Midlands! 

She recently visited the sanctuary for the very first time, meeting her fellow artist in residence Claire Waltier MacGillivray, Head Gardener Imogen Jackson, the garden’s volunteers and a great gathering of patients and their loved ones. 

Describing her first session as ‘wonderful’ and sharing that she loved every minute of meeting and working with so many people in the summer sunshine, already she’s made plans for how she’ll be inspiring everyone in her workshops throughout the month. 

Whilst experimenting with mini macro lenses was always on her list, the glorious weather meant she decided to start the sessions with this brilliant piece of photographic equipment.  

A small group of patients and visitors actively joined her, with countless others observing and vowing to join in with the fun the next time she visits the garden. Clipping the mini macro lenses to everyone’s phones, those gathered had a brilliant time testing them and trialled all kinds of approaches to assess which ones achieved the best photographs, of which you’ll see a small selection below.


The woodland area of the garden is currently a hive of bee activity, as here they can take shelter from the breeze, whilst it is also filled with an array of beautiful blooms. Naturally, this led to the group largely gathering here, where the sights and sounds of wildlife enjoying the garden were prolific and well worth capturing. 

Working with several people, Helen gently offered advice on how to zoom in on the group’s chosen subject, which resulted in some incredible shots being taken by both people spending time in the haven and by Helen herself (a selection of Helen’s gorgeous images feature in the slideshow at the bottom of this page). With the photographs being so impressive, Helen hopes to put together a slideshow of all the images at the end of her residency in Horatio’s Garden, which will be shared with patients, their loved ones and us very soon. 

The afternoon was full of laughs and chatter, with everyone collaborating and getting involved with the fun phone photography exercises which were designed to suit all. Learning something new and being able to put this knowledge to stunning use really meant a lot to many and as word has spread, rumour has it that more patients are keen to attend next week’s session. 

As a professional portrait and wedding photographer based in north Shropshire, Helen loves meeting new characters and relishes the variety her work brings. She’s always adored photography, often taking pictures as a child of all the things she found to be beautiful or loved. 

Whilst she might be trained as a retail and promotional designer, she became a professional photographer not long after taking a course in 2001, which led to her taking a leap of faith, leaving her previous job and starting her dream one. Naturally, she’s never looked back. 

Aside from being a fantastic, friendly photographer, Helen is an artist too. Her work largely comprises of portraits of houses and fine art paintings of wildlife, but occasionally she feels the lure of the abstract and paints vast, unexpected pieces too. 

Being someone with such a passion for multiplicity, we have no doubt that Helen will find her time in Horatio’s Garden Midlands immensely fulfilling, whilst those who join her to discover the delights of photography will undoubtedly feel inspired and invigorated by her presence.